Friday, June 5, 2015

NFA and IRRI partner on improving rice quality

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna - The National Food Authority (NFA) signed earlier today (5 June 2015) a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on improving rice quality in the Philippines.

Under the MOU, the NFA and IRRI commit to promote and accelerate research on rice and rice-based farming systems toward establishing international-level standards for rice quality.  Joint work will also be done toward consistent application of such standards for the benefit of all players in the Philippine rice industry, from farmers to consumers.

"Through this agreement, the NFA hopes to maximize IRRI's research in achieving our food security mission of providing the country’s rice requirements in terms of volume and quality. This will also guide us in our decision-making, not only in our operational activities but also in our policy-formulation, in anticipation of future developments such as infrastructure build-up," said NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay.

Rice quality encompasses rice farming technologies and practices that help ensure sustainable agriculture, improved farmer welfare, grain quality, and dietary practices that support improved nutrition and health among consumers.

"We are happy to share technologies, some partly developed through work funded by the Department of Agriculture on grain quality and forecasting, with NFA," said IRRI Deputy Director General Bruce Tolentino.

Tolentino assured Dalisay of IRRI's support to NFA's efforts to make good quality rice available to consumers, as well as to adapt better to the effects of climate change, citing damage to rice storage infrastructure when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013.

NFA and IRRI will collaborate in these specific areas: grain quality improvement, including assessment of consumer preferences and research to enhance quality; rice breeding, production, and processing (postharvest)technologies; and the establishment of quality standards in relation to the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), a key mechanism through which rice quality standards are promoted internationally.

NFA and IRRI will also be sharing scientific data and research results as well as strategic analysis of developments and trends in international rice trade.

The NFA is mandated to ensure the country’s food security and stability of the supply and price of rice, the country’s major staple. This collaboration is part of the NFA’s efforts to widen its partnership with both public and private sectors toward finding long-term and sustainable ways to achieve national food self-sufficiency and security.

IRRI is the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger, improving the livelihood of rice farmers and health of rice consumers, and ensuring environmental sustainability through rice science.

Earlier, the NFA also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Kaya Natin! Movement, a civil society organization advocating good governance and ethical leadership, for a “Bantay Bigas” project to ensure that the NFA’s inexpensive quality rice will be continuously available, accessible, and affordable to poor consumers who are its intended beneficiaries.

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