Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) fulfilled its 2017-2022 strategic plan as the institute celebrated its 37th anniversary, Nov. 3-4.

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the committee on agriculture, food, and agrarian reform, said that DA-PhilRice has “outsmarted the pandemic when [it] employed strategies to ensure that farmers receive their certified seeds every cropping season and are capacitated through blended learning approaches despite the community restrictions and lockdowns.

“Thank you for staying true to your mandate to help our rice farmers become competitive. Your efforts are well-recognized and are relevant in our national and local policies. More importantly, your hard work and dedication in implementing programs under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) are unequaled,” she said.

In 2021, the DA-PhilRice contributed to the country’s record-breaking palay output of 19.96 M metric tons.

During the last five years, DA-PhilRice has increased productivity and profitability by developing 28 new rice varieties developed with impressive characteristics, pest management recommendations, and farm machineries.

New varieties include NSIC Rc 528 (Salinas 26) and Rc 536 (Salinas 30), which yields are 24.8-33.7% higher than the check variety, PSB Rc 90; and Rc 600 and Rc 602 as the country’s first heat-tolerant varieties. The nucleus and breeder seeds for all these varieties were already produced; Rc 536 is commercially available since 2020. 

The institute and its partners also secured the approval of Golden Rice, a new type of rice that contains beta-carotene, for commercial propagation.

Field reports regarding the Pest Risk Identification and Management (PRIME) project also showed that early detection of pests and diseases helped farmers reduce rice production costs and increase yield.

Among the 12 machines ready for commercialization include the riding-type boat tiller for shallow-mud fields, multi-purpose seeder attachment for hand tractors, and brown rice machines.

Systems and technologies for rice and rice-farming systems such as the improved PalayCheck, bag drying and handling system, and capillarigation systems were crafted to be able to produce rice at the least expense.  

The “Sa Palay at Gulay may Ani, Hanapbuhay, Oportunidad at Nutrisyon (Pag-ahon project)” helped rice-based farmers increase their income by 20-30% by marketing their produce.

The 37-year-old government agency also co-developed cutting-edge technologies and platforms such as Philippine Rice Information System, which is now hailed as a model in Asia on how satellite-based rice monitoring can be harnessed to optimize gains in agriculture. 

It also improved the content and accessibility of data repositories, which are now available online, and helped craft policies such as the truthful labeling of rice, which was adopted by the Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija as a main ordinance. About 1,130 agreements with various international and national stakeholders were also sealed.

Moreover, the Institute has trained thousands of farmers and rice specialists while millions were reached through its online and SMS platforms such as the PhilRice Text Center (0917-111-7423).

Dr. John C. de Leon, executive director, said that PhilRice is grateful to the DA family and collaborators for “co-creating many breakthroughs and keeping the institute’s research, development, and administrative sector motivated and determined.”

The anniversary highlighted art exhibits titled, “Butil, buhay, sining, at kulay” by Hermisanto and the #BeautifulPhilRice – a photo gallery showcasing the institute’s sceneries and work, awarding of outstanding staff in the Dangal ng PhilRice ceremonies, seminar on institutional building, and thanksgiving and moral enrichment program.

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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