PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. is now eyeing to use the new technologies from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to boost the country’s rice production.
Marcos made the remark in a media interview during his visit to the IRRI facility in Los Baños, Laguna, together with other officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“It’s up to us now in the Philippine government to make sure those technologies, those products, go down to the grassroots,” Marcos said.
During his tour around the IRRI facility, Marcos was briefed about direct seeding of rice—the process of putting up a rice crop from seeds sown in the field, which is expected to improve crop resilience and reduce labor cost, water use and greenhouse emissions.
Other technologies presented to Marcos include the Laser Land Leveling (LLL) technology, which boosts water and input efficiency in paddy farming by ensuring it is leveled and uniform; Solar Bubble Dryer for the low-cost drying of seed; Hermetic Storage System, which makes use of airtight container for seed storage.
“A good result of this visit is we were able to see the new technologies that are completely appropriate in the Philippine setting,” Marcos said.
Another highlight of the visit had Marcos reenacting a picture of his father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, while he was accompanied by former United States President Lyndon Johnson, which was taken in 1966 in the IRRI facility in Laguna.
In his picture, Marcos can be seen talking to IRRI President Jean Balie.
IRRI is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government.
In a related development, Marcos said he still has no plans to appoint a new head of DA for now due to his pending reforms in the said agency.
“Actually, I have a schedule—I have a timetable for that. There are certain things that I would like to achieve before leaving the department. So we have yet to achieve those,” Marcos said.
Nonetheless, he admited he is considering some candidates to replace him as the current Secretary of DA.
“So hopefully by the time my checklist [of reforms] are completed, we will have someone to nominate in the DA,” Marcos said.