Executive Order 1061 mandates PhilRice to develop and implement a national rice R4D program to improve and sustain rice production in the country. Together with the Department of Agriculture and its regional field offices and attached agencies, state colleges and universities, local government units, private sector, non-government and international organizations, and farmer groups, PhilRice has succeeded in the implementation of rice R4D programs and projects on the ground with its vision of a rice-secure Philippines in mind.
The agriculture sector currently struggles with the problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis from lockdowns and restrictions. The whole situation in general, as Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar puts it, highlights the vulnerabilities of our current systems, particularly on the distortion of the food supply and global trade. Hence, it is crucial to restructure the current policies and practices for us to respond to the present challenges as well as to prepare for future crises.
Thus, we find it timely and appropriate to have the theme “Sustaining High Quality Rice Science in the Midst of Change” for this year’s conference. Here, we take on Sec. Dar’s “survive, reboot, and grow” principle and bring our focus on PhilRice’s new rice R4D programs and initiatives under Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which envisions food security and viability of our agriculture sector.
Specifically, we highlight the efforts PhilRice is carrying out to promote resiliency not only from the changes in the environment but in the industry; refocus our priorities to minimize the adverse effects and disruptions on agricultural production and the food supply chain; and to attract more investments and resources, and partner with the private sector, LGUs and the rice-farming community to increase food sufficiency levels. This conference is brought together by the concept of Ugnay Palay where the rice science community and its stakeholders gather through rice and for rice. For this year’s conference, PhilRice has opted to use a web-based application as the platform to not only join in the efforts in preventing the spread of the disease but also to widen our audience as we ride the wave of new information and communications technology.