PHL, Vietnam to collaborate on rice research

THE Philippines and Vietnam have agreed on a collaborative rice research and development (R&D) program, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Orlan A. Calayag said the program, which was agreed upon during the First Meeting of the Joint Agriculture Working Group, aims to promote rice-farming systems and technologies between the two countries.

“We aim to reduce postharvest losses and to advance processing technologies through this program,” Calayag said in a statement.

The collaboration on rice R&D also includes a breeding program for the development of high yielding, high quality and hybrid varieties, including climate change resilient rice varieties with resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Biotic stress occurs as a result of damage done to plants by other living organisms, while abiotic stress is the negative impact of nonliving factors on the living organisms.

Calayag said varieties resistant or tolerant to drought, salinity and submergence will be included.

Both countries will identify an expert group on rice breeding that will discuss the joint breeding program, he said.

The Philippines and Vietnam also agreed to promote new farming systems and rice technologies that can expand the current geographic focus on identified areas considering climate resilience and value
chain factors.

“Both countries will conduct benchmarking analysis of the rice- value chain from production to market in an effort to advance processing technologies and reduce postharvest losses,” Calayag said.

He added that the Philippines and Vietnam will accelerate the promotion of crop-management technologies through the use of “innovative” approaches, such as the information and communications technology advisory system.

Calayag said that the program also includes capacity building and enhancement of research and training facilities for the Philippines
and Vietnam.

“Research and training facilities will be enhanced, and we will also have capacity building for the new generation of scientists, researchers and extension workers,” he said.

Vietnam is a major source of imported rice for the Philippines. This year the Philippines has already bought a total of 550,000 metric tons of rice under a government-to-government deal.

The Philippines imports rice to beef up the buffer stock of the National Food Authority and plug the shortfall in local rice output.