QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Filipino rice farmers are poised to gain even more from government efforts to help increase rice productivity as Philippine Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala acknowledged promising results from the field and pledged continued support to rice research.
The rice research component of the FSSP is jointly implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
“I am optimistic of the collaboration’s impact at the farmers’ level,” Alcala said. “Efforts like these deserve long-term support, and I intend to present these to the country's economic managers to make sure that support is sustained.”
IRRI Deputy Director General Bruce Tolentino assured the secretary of IRRI’s continued support to DA’s goals of helping the country’s rice farmers become globally competitive.
Not only does Alcala want to see farmers make use of research-informed interventions, he intends to make use of documented results to help advise the government on sustainable expansion of agricultural areas, not only for rice but for other crops. He cited encouraging results from the accelerated development and deployment of improved varieties and from promoting the use of a suite of associated technologies to help increase yield in rainfed rice environments.
The secretary instructed his technical advisory group (TAG) to apply lessons learned from the Philippine Rice Information System project to create information systems for other crops. He proposed intensified inter-agency collaboration to improve the capacity of agriculture extensionists, and encouraged visits to Heirloom Rice Project sites in the Cordillera region.
The FSSP’s rice research efforts are funded by the DA Rice Program through the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research. Implementing partners are the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), DA-Agriculture Training Institute, DA-Bureau of Plant Industry, and regional field offices.
Alcala and the TAG were joined by Undersecretary for Field Operations Emerson Palad, Assistant Secretary for Field Operations and PhilRice Officer-In-Charge Edilberto de Luna, Director and Special Technical Adviser for the National Rice Program Edmund Sana, and DA-BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar. Also present were implementers from IRRI and DA attached bureaus and agencies.
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