IRRI and the Philippines Ink Agreement to boost Rice Industry Development

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to continue their collaborative efforts to enhance the country’s rice sector competitiveness.

The move is a bid to support the Philippine Development Plan that provides a policy framework for effective public investments towards making the country food secure, achieving an inclusive and globally competitive rice industry, and enhancing farmers’ resiliency to the changing climate.

Under the five-year agreement, the DA and IRRI will implement rice and rice-based research for development (R4D) projects anchored in the four-point strategy of the government’s Masagana Rice Industry Development Program and specifically, DA’s plan to boost the agriculture and fisheries sector.

These endeavors aim to  optimize yields, reduce risk, and increase resilience to climate change, achieving economies of scale, more efficient operations, while also promoting digital transformation and agribusiness development.

“We will leverage our already successful joint projects with the DA in crafting this next phase of our partnership. This agreement not only ensures strategic alignment of IRRI’s research with national priorities but also strengthens the country’s rice R&D capabilities for future problem-solving needs,” said IRRI Interim Director General Dr. Ajay Kohli.

The MOU signing represents a continuation of the longstanding partnership between IRRI and DA, which has yielded numerous technological and institutional innovations specifically tailored to Philippine conditions.

These include new rice varieties that will increase farmers’ yields, climate adaptation, support for the digital transformation of the rice sector and policy research. Many of these initiatives have been primed for further expansion and scaling in 2024 and IRRI plans to further collaborate with the DA on the development and roll out of low glycemic index rice, in collaboration with PhilRice, that can help reverse rising diabetes levels, and precision agriculture and digitalization.

Moving forward, the collaboration between the DA and IRRI will focus on leveraging digital technology, extension services, and scientific capacity development to empower stakeholders across the rice and agricultural landscape. By fostering innovation and collaboration, DA and IRRI aim to drive sustainable growth and resilience in the Philippine rice industry.