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President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, a plant breeder and academician, as the new executive director of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), July 4, vice Atty. Ronilo A. Beronio.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, on the other hand, swore him into office on July 13. Rasco said, during the turnover ceremony for PhilRice chief today, that Alcala directed him to ensure PhilRice’s strong support to the Aquino Administration’s goal of rice self-sufficiency by 2013, particularly in the supply of high quality seeds and in developing and adapting technologies for upland rice farming.

Rasco is a recipient of a number of awards from prestigious organizations, such as the National Academy of Science and Technology and the Philippine Jaycees for his contributions in plant breeding and agricultural education.

He has worked with various institutions, such as the University of the Philippines Mindanao as professor and dean, International Potato Center as coordinating scientist, Institute of Plant Breeding as director, and East-West Seed Company as founding director and member of the board. In these institutions, he conducted comprehensive research on vegetables, potato and sweet potato, underused crops, slope farming, and modern agriculture’s sustainability. He has internationally acclaimed papers and books, and has crafted a general education course on plant biotechnology, the first in the Philippines.

Rasco is a magna cum laude agriculture graduate of the University of the Philippine Los Baños and has a doctorate degree in plant breeding from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA.

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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