PhilRice shifts to new direction, methods to enhance competitiveness

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija, (PNA) –The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is set to make fundamental shifts in scope and direction of its work to carry out its new advocacy: Clean, Green, Practical, and Smart Rice Farming Systems for Competitiveness, Sustainability, and Resilience (Clean GPS for CSR).

Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, PhilRice executive director, said changes in productivity analysis, integration concepts, and benchmark research will soon be implemented in the midst of natural and man-made threats.

“Clean GPS for CSR is the essence of our renewed commitment to the Filipinos. As we try to make this advocacy a reality, we need to start using the rice farming environment as our unit of productivity analysis instead of only the rice crop ,” Rasco said.

With his shift in unit of productivity analysis, Rasco emphasized the need for a more encompassing view of integration.

“Backward integration is the sense of providing the inputs such as energy required to sustain the rice environment; forward integration is to put the products through an efficient supply chain. Horizontal integration is making non-rice enterprises engage in mutually beneficial relationship with the rice crop,” he explained.

He said these concepts are not abstract as this form of integration is already being applied in mungbean production between rice crops, which is “known not only to improve the income of the rice farmer, but it is biologically beneficial to the rice plant by supplying nutrients.”

To help farmers survive economically, Rasco said that for the first time, PhilRice will benchmark the Filipino rice farmers against competitors in Vietnam, Thailand, India, Cambodia, and China.

He said researchers will be deployed to these countries to understand why they can produce rice so much cheaper than the Filipino farmers.

“As component of our advocacy, we speak of Clean GPS as methods. Clean, which basically means non-polluting. Green is for technologies that reduce the use of external inputs in rice farming, particularly energy. Practical is something that appeals to common sense. And Smart means knowledge-intensive, yield maximizing, and cost reducing technologies,” he said.