Holding the signed MOA are PhilRice Acting Executive Director Sailila E. Abdula (L) and USM President Francisco Gil N. Garcia (R).

To increase the accessibility of high-quality seeds in Mindanao, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) establishing a 50ha seed production area, June 24.

 “Farmers’ competitiveness starts with high-quality inbred seeds. We have to double our efforts in producing high-quality seeds as demand for foundation, registered, and certified seeds will increase with the implementation of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP),” said Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, PhilRice acting executive director.

Under RCEP, PhilRice will utilize P3B to produce and distribute high-quality inbred seeds to qualified farmers. The said program is on top of Department of Agriculture’s core project for farmers.

The upcoming PhilRice USM substation will be utilized mainly for seed production, rice technology demonstration, and experiments. USM, based in Kabacan, Cotabato, is one of the country’s four leading state universities with achieved excellence in agricultural education.

Cayetano C. Pomares, USM vice president for research, development, and extension, said they have observed the low adoption of certified inbred seeds in Southern Mindanao. With the collaboration, he hopes to see farmers growing high-quality seeds in their rice fields.

Meanwhile, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte renewed its partnership with PhilRice for 25 years. The MOA, which was signed June 26, allows PhilRice to develop 10ha for seed production, technology demonstration, and construction and renovation of state-of-the-art facilities.

“With this effort, we hope to contribute in helping our rice farmers cushion the effect of Rice Trade Liberalization Law,” Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, MMSU president, said.

PhilRice Batac station is currently housed at MMSU compound, which focuses on dry land agriculture.

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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