To highlight the highly successful partnership between the two organizations, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) recently launched the website DA-IRRI 2016-2021 Collaboration, an online legacy site detailing the various projects, innovations, and milestones achieved during their five-year collaborative activities from 2016 to 2021.
As the host country of the institute’s global headquarters, the Philippines and IRRI have had a close partnership for more than 60 years, dating back to the 1960s when the institute was first founded in Los Baños, Laguna. Over the decades, collaborations between IRRI and the Philippine government, particularly the DA and its various agencies, have significantly advanced rice research and production in the country and around the world. Notable achievements include the development of IR8 and other improved high-yielding and stress-tolerant rice varieties, the establishment of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, the development of innovative technologies and knowledge products like PRISM, and the training of thousands of rice scientists and researchers from the Philippines and abroad, to name just a few.
Under the recent Duterte Administration, joint activities between IRRI and the Philippine government were intensified through a Memorandum of Understanding to work more closely together to improve rice production in the country, build on past successes, and forge new collaborations. These include increasing the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers; improving the quality of rice; enhancing the sustainability of rice production systems; strengthening value chains; and developing the next generation of rice science leaders.
The new legacy site offers a comprehensive look at six key projects completed and launched during 2016-2021, showcasing highlights and impacts as well as providing important information and resources. These projects are:
Water-efficient and risk-mitigation technologies for enhancing rice production in irrigated and rainfed environments (WateRice) - irrigation, ICT, and mechanization management and tools to enhance water productivity
Pest Risk Identification and Management (PRIME) - management strategies and tactics to reduce and mitigate crop losses from rice pests
Rice Crop Manager Advisory Service (RCMAS) - digital platform for crop and nutrient management recommendations for smallholder farmers
NextGen - improved and more efficient rice breeding practices and technologies
Heirloom Rice - advancing production and promotion of traditional rice varieties
Specialty Rice - empowering local farmer livelihoods with high-premium rice varieties
Aside from the main Department of Agriculture, many DA agencies have been key collaborators in many of these projects, including the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE), and various Regional Field Offices (RFOs).
“The projects featured in the DA-IRRI legacy site highlight the benefits of increased cooperation between our two organizations,” said Alice Laborte, IRRI Research Coordinator for the Philippines. “Leveraging on each other’s strengths and capabilities, we were able to implement these initiatives more efficiently and effectively, accelerating proven technologies and methodologies that can help smallholder farmers enhance their livelihoods and resilience.”
“IRRI is grateful to the Department of Agriculture for their robust commitment and support to our rice research partnership,” said Dr. Ajay Kohli, IRRI Deputy Director-General for Research. “Collective and cooperative action is essential for us to transform complex food systems and make them more productive, nutritious, resilient, and equitable.”
“Rice is a vital crop for millions of people around the world, especially in the Philippines,” said DA Secretary William Dar. “That’s why we are committed to helping smallholder farmers produce more rice and improve their livelihoods. Stronger ties between IRRI and DA can make even more progress in this important work."