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Research and development contributes to 25% yield growth in rice, said the authors of the “Securing Rice, Reducing Poverty” book with the then Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Director and now National Economic and Development Authority Chief Arsenio Balisacan among the authors.

Balisacan and associates highlighted the need for increased budget in rice R&D by closing the yield gaps. The authors noted yield gaps in rice are attributable to weeds, pests, and diseases, which can very well be addressed by stepping up initiatives on rice research.

Historically, however, research expenditure as a proportion of GDP allocation in the Philippines on R&D has often times been inferior to its neighbors.

Citing data from the 2009 World Competitiveness Yearbook, UPLB’s Prof. Teodoro Mendoza said the Philippines allocated only 0.12% of its GDP to R&D. Malaysia and Thailand allocated 0.64% and 0.20%, respectively.

Meanwhile, a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute based in Washington, D.C. and the Bangkok-based Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions notes the rather slow-paced improvement in public spending on R&D in the Philippines relative to other countries.

In their July 2013 report, Vietnam is reported to have increased its public spending on R&D by over 270%: from $23M in 1996 to $86M in 2008. The Philippines’s spending, on the other hand, showed only a 3% increase from $129M in 1996 to $133M in 2008.

Consequently, using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization, it can be said that increase in public spending on R&D does have an impact on rice productivity.

This is true in the case of Vietnam where rice yield dramatically increased.  From 3.77 tons/ha in 1996, Vietnam’s rice yield went up to 4.89 tons/ha in 2008, making it the second highest rice producer in the region next only to China.

In a paper titled “Investments in Research, Development, and Extension: Implications on TFP” by PhilRice economists Sergio R. Francisco and Flordeliza H. Bordey, the “pervasive and persistent underfunding in public agricultural Research Development and Extension (RD&E)” was noted. Francisco and Bordey wrote under investment in agricultural R&D slows down productivity.

In 2007, an external review conducted to assess impact of PhilRice showed  that farmers have benefited from the cost-reducing and yield-enhancing technologies developed by PhilRice.

Increasing budget for rice R&D means not just improved rice production, but also better livelihood outcomes for the Filipino farmers, said PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute