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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had tied-up with Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to lead its second five-year project to improve agriculture production in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

To be implemented until 2017, the technical cooperation project called Rice-based farming technology project for ARMM, is in full swing this month in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM). The first JICA-PhilRice technical cooperation project in ARMM was implemented from 2005 until 2010.

“The recurring conflict issue in ARMM has negatively affected its agricultural sector. With this, the JICA-funded project was launched to restore peace and progress in the affected areas by increasing agricultural productivity,” said Teodora L. Briones, head of PhilRice’s Planning and Collaborative Programs Office.

To increase the region’s low average rice yield of 2.83 t/ha, implementers will conduct trainings, facilitate provisions on farm machinery and equipment, and lead in the development of location-specific rice-based farming technologies. In 2007, an external evaluation committee reported that the first JICA-PhilRice technical cooperation project in ARMM contributed to the region’s increase in rice yield by 2.5 t/ha.

Briones said  the project will promote PhilRice-developed rice and rice-based technologies such as PalayCheck, an integrated crop management approach, and Palayamanan, a diversified integrated rice-based farming system will be promoted.

PhilRice will also adopt a farmer-to-farmer approach and conduct special trainings on modern rice and rice-based technologies to farmer-leaders and agricultural technologists to facilitate efficient dissemination and adoption of technologies.

For its part, DAF-ARMM will co-lead, plan and conduct information campaigns, and ensure the program’s sustainability in the provinces.

Project implementers also include ARMM Integrated Agricultural Research Center, University of Southern Mindanao, Mindanao State University, and the local government units.

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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