The seminar-workshop for rice research sector agreed to prioritize proposals covering rice breeding, farm clustering, digital agriculture, and policy analysis.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have identified research agenda that will guide the development and implementation of new projects under the Philippines-IRRI Partnership in Rice R4D (PIPRR4D).

In a recent seminar-workshop, rice research sector agreed to prioritize proposals covering rice breeding, farm clustering, digital agriculture, and policy analysis. These were identified to complement the “One DA” holistic approach and aligned with One DA’s 12 key strategies to advance the agriculture sector’s sustainability and resilience and attain food security.

PIPRR4D is a new governance and management system established to improve the synchrony, effectiveness, and efficiency of its future projects. The system also ensures the integration and convergence of projects at the local level for maximum technology utilization and impact.

“The Philippines should now be moving to a demand-driven R4D just like other countries,” said Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, DA chief of staff and head of the Philippines-IRRI Taskforce. “The advantage of IRRI is that it can bring a lot of new tools and breakthrough technologies at the national level. We should identify how IRRI can complement the national capacity in a way that both parties will benefit.”

Dr. William Dar, agriculture secretary, cited IRRI’s continuous work to improve rice productivity and production in Asia, particularly with the Philippines.  “This collaboration is such an important arrangement to continue and strengthen,” Dr. Dar said. “It would be good for both parties to have a joint plan that would enhance, and strengthen the partnership and work together in the areas we deem are important for the Philippine rice industry.”

“I think the discussions we had in the framework of this workshop could not have come at a better time, given the One DA to pursue a holistic approach,” said Dr. John De Leon, executive director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). “We will continue discussions on these topics so that the benefits that we will get from a high-level science, research, and development institution, such as IRRI, can really trickle down to our farmers.”

IRRI Director General Jean Balié highlighted the importance of the Philippines-IRRI partnership in the context of the new One CGIAR and how this can be leveraged to further deploy research strengths not just in the country, but in the broader ASEAN and beyond. He also recognized the vital role of all partners in crafting the new agenda under the PIPRR4D.

“I really appreciate the collaborative efforts we have been making with our closest partners in the Philippines, headed by DA and PhilRice,” said Dr. Balié. “Everyone is determined to ensure that this partnership will not only address the needs and gaps in Philippine agriculture but also systematically embrace sustainability, inclusiveness, and scalability.”

Key Officials and representatives from DA and IRRI, members of the Joint DA-IRRI Task Force on Scaling Technologies for PIPRR4D, DA- Regional Field Offices, and partners from the academe and private sector participated in the workshop. 

The workshop was organized by the Bureau of Agricultural Research, PhilRice, and IRRI.