The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) renewed its commitment to the Filipinos by inspiring innovations and rural transformation on its 29th anniversary, Nov. 5-7.

Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, PhilRice executive director, said that the Institute`s advances in research and development show the rice workers` efforts in helping the country provide enough rice and foster progress in rural areas.

In 2013, PhilRice released 10 new early-maturing varieties for saline, irrigated, and rainfed lowland areas. NSIC Rc3442SR, an aromatic special that is moderately resistant to green leaf hopper, was also released.

“We have achieved sustained progress in rice production by providing Filipino farmers with new high-yielding rice varieties.  [Last year was] also remarkable with the National Year of Rice campaign. [During this campaign], we led many Filipinos in sending a unified message that each of us can help attain rice sufficiency and this year, we [upheld] that message by motivating everyone to be responsible rice consumers,” Rasco said.

The 29-year-old agency spurred innovations such as the development of nutri-rice milk, Metarhizium anisopliae in powder form, and hydrous bioethanol fuel injector for spark-ignition engines.

Nutri-Rice milk is a healthy drink made from germinated brown rice containing Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, which improves brain and cardiovascular functions and can slow down the effects of aging.

On the other hand, Metarhizium anisopliae is a fungal microbial agent that controls rice black bug – a pest that can reduce yield up to 80 percent and cause complete crop loss due to bug burn.

“[Other than our researches], we also launched an ambitious rural transformation campaign aiming to reduce poverty through our Gusto namin milyonaryo kayo advocacy,” Rasco said.

Under the Gusto namin milyonaryo kayo campaign, diversified farming and agri-business ventures will be promoted through nucleus estates across the country starting from 10 PhilRice stations. Nucleus estates will be put up to give farmers access to support services including training, input, custom services, modern support technologies, product development and packaging, and marketing.

In preparing farmers for the ASEAN integration, PhilRice launched the Palayabangan: The 10-5 challenge, a national competition, which aims to find out technologies that will produce rice at the least cost without sacrificing yield.

Competition results show that farmers can yield 10.54 t/ha for P4.94/k. Average input cost is at P11/k.

Aurelio M. Umali, Nueva Ecija governor, lauded the Institute’s contributions in the country`s rice granary.

“[While working with] PhilRice for the past years, I have witnessed, with considerable pride, how your tremendous and highly successful efforts in the field of agricultural research and development [propelled] rural progress. Truly, you are at the forefront of agricultural innovation. Your work to boost agricultural productivity is integral in our efforts to secure the welfare of our farmers and enhance Nueva Ecija`s reputation as the Rice Granary of the Philippines,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala said that PhilRice was efficient and productive in addressing the challenges in the agriculture sector.

Alcala said that PhilRice helped the country increased its local rice supply. In 2013, the Philippines produced 18.44 million metric tons of rice, making it the fastest growing rice-producing country in Asia.

PhilRice, created through Executive Order 1061 signed on November 5, 1985, celebrates its anniversary through seminars on leadership and moral enrichment and awarding ceremonies.

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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