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With uncertainties brought about by trade liberalization and climate change, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) challenged more than 500 rice workers to step up researches during the 27th National Rice Research and Development (R&D) Conference held at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Sept. 3-4.

“Our population had reached 100 million and when given opportunities and with proper investment, we can depend on our people as the most valuable resource that will drive good economy. Priorities then must be given in saving our people from displacement and calamities,” said Dr. Segfredo R. Serrano, DA undersecretary for Policy, and Planning, Project Development, R&D, and Regulations.

Serrano emphasized the need to improve R&D activities so Filipinos can cope with the slow onset events of climate change, which include increasing temperatures, rising sea level, and salinization.

“Nothing is more important than the survival and future of our people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Edilberto de Luna, assistant secretary for Operations and DA National Rice and Corn Program coordinator, said that R&D work is “even heroic because it can help solve poverty, malnutrition, and unemployment.”

In ensuring the future`s survival, de Luna said that the supply of rice and other staples including white corn, sweet potato, cassava, and banana must be safe and nutritious.

“I commend PhilRice for coming up with [researches] on green and smart farming, grain quality, biodiversity conservation, and information and promotion delivery,” de Luna said.

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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