The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) reported its contributions in hitting the 2023 record harvest at its Bagong Pilipinas town hall meeting during the recent Lakbay Palay in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Reporting to more than 500 farmers, Executive Director John C. de Leon announces that the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program has distributed 16.04 million 20-kilogram bags of inbred rice seeds to 2.4 million unique beneficiaries who received in multiple cropping seasons. The distributed inbred rice seeds have been planted to 1.8 million hectares of land annually since 2019.

Through the RCEF Rice Extension Services Program, each region now has 25-48 rice experts who will help farmers diagnose field problems while more than 4,300 graduates of training of trainers nationwide now teach farmers and setting-up varietal trials in more than 300 farm schools.

“In previous years, we could only produce about 10-12 million metric tons of rice annually. Last year, we exceeded 20 million. With our farmers’ ongoing dedication, we aim to surpass this milestone year after year,” de Leon said. 

In the bid to celebrate achievements and chart the course for future endeavors, DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) hosted the “Bagong Pilipinas” town hall meeting as part of the 2024 Lakbay Palay event on March 20-21.

One of the achievements celebrated at the event was the Philippines’ impressive rice production in 2023, which set a new record of 20.06M metric tons and was also featured in this year’s dry season rice paddy art.

About 25 farmer-clusters were linked to institutional markets such as Kiwanis International, MayaniPH, CM & Sons Food Products Inc. [Merzci], and Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Network. 

NSIC 2023 Rc 730 SR and Rc 732, PhilRice-bred varieties recommended in national irrigated and rainfed lowland areas, respectively, were approved for commercial release while breeding for varieties adaptive to complete submergence and flash floods with 100% survival 21 days after de-submergence are on the way. 

The town hall meeting also served as a platform to motivate the next generation of agricultural leaders with approximately 500 students engaged in discussions about agricultural careers, where Dr. Hazel V. Antonio encouraged them to explore diverse opportunities within the sector.

“Studying your chosen course thoroughly is not just about personal growth, but it’s also a stepping stone towards making a significant impact in the agricultural sector. By excelling in your field, you can contribute to effective strategies that help farmers increase their income. If we all work together, we can uplift farmers and transform the agricultural landscape,” she said.

The Institute’s page on YouTube ( and TikTok (, which were created based on stakeholders’ demand for rice information on said platforms, were also launched during the two-day program. 

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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