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The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the country`s lead agency in rice research and development, will train extension workers from  Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) following the letter of agreement (LOA) recently signed between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Starting June 20, a four-month rice production program will be conducted at PhilRice`s Central Experiment Station in Nueva Ecija to equip the 25 trainees with knowledge and skills on extension strategies and rice cultivation technologies that can be adapted in the world`s second largest and most populous continent.

Lea dR. Abaoag, overall coordinator of the season-long rice farming training program, said the extension workers will be trained on PalayCheck and Palayamanan systems, which will be implemented come wet season in the Farmers` Field School in six rainfed rice communities of Talugtug, Nueva Ecija. PalayCheck is an integrated crop management system for rice while Palayamanan is a diversified rice-based farming system.

The trainees from Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya will also be trained on organizing, writing, communicating, and documenting the extension activities they will conduct upon return to their respective countries.

The training, funded by Japan with USD 4 million, is a part of the overall initiative of the Coalition for Africa Rice Development to increase rice production in Africa. Reports have noted  rice consumption in the region increases by 6 percent yearly . SSA imports nearly half of its rice  consumption at around USD 3.6 billion a year.

A working paper published by the World Bank in February noted expenditure on rice importation in SSA“could otherwise be used to finance infrastructure development.”

The LOA was signed by Norman Macdonald, IRRI`s director for Management Services and Norio Matsuda, JICA chief representative, and witnessed by Ruben Miranda, PhilRice OIC executive director.

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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