An agreement to help Filipino rice farmers produce more rice under the Philippines Food Staples Sufficiency Programme (FSSP) has been signed in the hope that it will play a part in the country achieving self-sufficiency in rice and other food staples next year.
The partnership was signed by the country’s agriculture secretary, Proceso J. Alcala, and Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
“This is an opportune time to renew our partnership with IRRI, which has been a strong ally and supporter since 1960, as we are nearing our goal of rice sufficiency,” said Alcala at the signing.
The 5-year agreement outlines areas of collaboration to support, extend, and fast-track the delivery of the FSSP.
These include producing and distributing high-quality and improved rice seeds, developing varieties that are able to withstand salinity, flooding and drought, using geographic information systems to monitor rice crops, and exploring new and modern farming systems that will help expand current areas of production.
"IRRI provides technical assistance crucial for rice-sector strategy and planning," said Zeigler. "Our key contributions help improve farm productivity and profitability while keeping in mind sustainability.”
He added that the best IRRI science has been openly and freely available to public and private Philippine stakeholders since the Institute was established in the country in 1960.
The budget for the programme is expected to be significantly larger than that of previous agreements between the DA and IRRI.