Tuesday, February 14, 2023

OneRicePH workshop towards streamlining the Philippines’ rice breeding program

The International Rice Research Institute, together with the Philippine Department of Agriculture- Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), organized the OneRicePH validation workshop last January 31 to February 2, 2023 in Los Baños, Laguna. The activity entitled, “Stakeholders’ Workshop on Validation of Market Segments for Selected Priority Provinces”, aimed to validate the results of OneRicePH’s Module 1 baseline data collected, where all aspects of rice from production to market are identified and prioritized.

Farmers, seed growers, millers/traders as well as regional and provincial representatives from 42 priority provinces in the Philippines attended the three-day workshop to help corroborate the findings of the initial market stakeholder analysis; and to help facilitate product development through breeding rice varieties that address their needs and preferences.

When market segmentation is discussed, it usually pertains to a trading area. However, for plant breeders, farmers are their first consumers. This is what Dr. Shalabh Dixit, lead of the early maturity and direct seeded rice breeding in IRRI, emphasized during his opening remarks stating that the market segmentation they have implemented goes beyond the needs of consumers but also of other stakeholders like farmers, traders, and postharvest service providers.

“We have to take into account all the requirements of a farmer, how he grows rice, what is required in terms of duration to fit his cropping scheme, what kind of inputs and water he can provide, and so on,"  he further explained. Different rice farmers grow different varieties in various ways. Some prefer those that are drought-tolerant, while others prefer high-yielding varieties. The same goes for  buyers who may prefer purchasing either premium quality, healthier rice  or a more affordable package. As plant breeders, we need to be mindful of these for the varieties to be successful.

All of these considerations became part of OneRicePH’s development of market segments representing different rice consumers in the Philippines. These needs and preferences can be identified and used to group rice growing areas; thus, creating market segments that allow  stakeholders  within the rice breeding and seed systems to manage their resources better  while still making sure that they make maximum gains and replace varieties more efficiently.

Each day was allotted to a cluster of stakeholders from 14 provinces. The stakeholders participated in a breakout session with moderators from IRRI, PhilRice and UPLB who are working together on the OneRicePH Project.

OneRicePH is a joint initiative of IRRI and the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) to streamline the country’s rice breeding strategies and variety dissemination.

The identified market segments will be discussed with plant breeders and seed systems specialists and will then be adopted as a framework for variety development and deployment in the Philippines.


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