Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Philippines: Next-Gen Project maps its strategy to fast track delivery of improved rice varieties in 2015

The Philippine agriculture department's project on accelerated improvement and delivery of  rice varieties reviewed its 2014 milestones and planned for 2015 strategy at the Ramada Manila Central Hotel, Manila, on 13-14 January. The Next-Gen Project (Accelerating the Development and Adoption of Next-Generation Rice Varieties for the Major Ecosystems in the Philippines) is under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program supported by the Department of Agriculture (DA), where the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine government collaborate to help the country’s farmers adapt to the effects of climate change and increase rice productivity.

Present during the review were representatives from IRRI, DA regional field offices, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

“The Next-Gen project is an important project for the department as it is one of crucial responses of the government to the challenges of effect of climate change,” said Edilberto de Luna, assistant secretary for Field Operations and national coordinator for Rice and Corn Programs. The project aims to accelerate the introduction and adoption of higher-yielding rice varieties and hybrids with resistance to/tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses to raise current yields in rice production.

“It is important that the research community produce and deliver the seeds that farmers need,” said IRRI Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships Bruce Tolentino. He cited the impact of the Institute’s new and improved rice varieties in the Philippines that, according to an independent study, increased Filipino farmers' returns by an average of US$52 annually, over a span of 25 years.

Project leader and deputy head of IRRI's breeding division, Glenn Gregorio also said that learning what consumers want is an important factor in the breeding process.

Edmund Sana, special technical assistant to the National Rice Program under the DA, expressed his appreciation for the participants because the national government relies on the regional offices to implement projects like Next-Gen.

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