Since 1985, the Institute with its Central Experiment Station in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija, has been leading efforts on rice R&D.
The Science City of Muñoz has since witnessed several developments in the local rice industry. Muñoz is now heralded as among the major rice seeds hub in the country.
“Muñoz is privileged to host PhilRice. Along the national highway, one cannot miss the proliferation of rice seed centers, making the Science City a major rice seeds hub in the Philippines. This certainly creates a domino effect in terms of livelihood creation from people manning the rice fields, sales agents, to the many of input dealers in the City,” said Mayor Nestor L. Alvarez of the Science City of Muñoz.
From Nueva Ecija, PhilRice radiates its impacts through its branch stations located in Batac City, Ilocos Norte; San Mateo, Isabela; Los Baños, Laguna; Ligao City, Albay; Murcia, Negros Occidental; RTRomualdez, Agusan del Norte; Central Mindanao State University, Bukidon; and Midsayap, North Cotabato.
“We are eager to do more so our research outputs will reach more of our major stakeholders, particularly the resource-poor farmers,” said Dr. Calixto M. Protacio, PhilRice executive director.
PhilRice’s Dr. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang, deputy executive director for development, noted that the Institute has managed to increase its visibility recently through national campaigns such as the Be Riceponsible Campaign. Said initiative has managed to convince local governments to issue ordinances on half-cup serving of rice on major food establishments to arrest the issue on rice wastage.
“We are all united to help our country achieve food-sufficiency and security; one way is to reduce rice wastage in the Philippines,” Quilang said.
Meanwhile, PhilRice’s Eden Gagelonia of the Rice Engineering and Mechanization Division (REMD) noted the massive efforts of the Institute to mechanize rice industry.
“We have developed quite a number of machines to help reduce drudgery in farming. A number of these machines, such as the drumseeder, micromill, and flourmill, were developed for women,” Gagelonia said.
In 2015, PhilRice received the Anak ni Juan Award from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhl). It recognizes PhilRice as the agency with the most number of patent applications.
“It is a great privilege to have been awarded as the top institute, which explored its creativity and innovativeness. The award is a testament to the intensive knowledge production going on in the Institute,” said Jerry Serapion, PhilRice’s Intellectual Property Management manager.
As a research Institution, a key task of PhilRice is to advance various frontiers of rice science. As of 2015, more than 25 scientific publications have been produced by the Institute’s researchers and scientists. These were published in some of the most reputable journals in the world such as the Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment, International Journal of Ecology and Conservation, Philippine Journal of Crop Science, and the Philippine Agricultural Scientist.
Meanwhile, former executive directors of PhilRice have advised that the Institute should be able to properly position itself in the light of climate change and other threats to rice food production.
“PhilRice should focus its programs, harness its networks and partners, and think outside the box in developing, together with our farmers and concerned stakeholders, options for a competitive, sustainable, and climate-smart agriculture,” said Dr. Leocadio S. Sebastian, PhilRice executive director from 2000-2008.
Thirty years of dedicated and focused work on rice research and development.
With few hits and misses, PhilRice has reached its 30th anniversary. On 5-6 November, many activities are lined up to celebrate the milestones in the life of the country’s lead agency on rice research and development.