Progress, completion of four rice R4D projects for Q2 2023 reviewed

In compliance with the guidelines and procedures of its monitoring and evaluation system, the DA-BAR conducted a progress and completion review of rice projects for the second quarter of the year through a video conference on 26-27 June 2023. 

“To ensure smooth and effective implementation, the bureau is spearheading the review to help the partners/collaborating agencies from various government agencies, and state colleges and universities in the process,” said Program Monitoring, Evaluation and Linkaging Division (PMELD) and rice focal Julie Ann L. Dulay.

Technical experts and assistant professor Dr. Pompe C. Sta Cruz and Paul Joseph B. Ramirez from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) served as the evaluators during the review.

The first project discussed was the Rice Business Innovations Systems (RiceBIS) implemented by DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute. It aims to create a development model for community transformation that is participatory, market-driven, and supported by a scientific production base to improve the competitiveness of rice-based farming communities through the establishment of farmer clusters. 

Economics and management expert Ramirez advised DA-PhilRice to document the entire process since they are developing a model. 

“Process documentation is very helpful for the evaluators to identify what will be continued in the completion report. Include also in the report information on the database on profiles of farmers,” he said.

Implemented by UPLB, the project, Market Segmentation for Brown Rice: The Case of Metro Manila, was the next reviewed. DA-BAR Program Development Division (PDD) head Raymond Patrick Cabrera posed some clarifications/questions regarding this project. 

He asked, “Can we have the technical and policy recommendations sorted as short and long term ones to address the mentioned high price, unavailability, and packaging for brown rice and the strategies to link producers to consumers?”

He added, “Who are the specific key players (groups, institutions) that we can tap or engage and partner with for these recommended strategies?” 

After this was the DA-PhilRice and UPLB collaboration project, Deployment of genetic resistance in the management of rice black bug S. Coarctata. After the latter’s presentation, Dr. Sta Cruz advised the project team to plan their next project for sustainability.   

The main objective of the project was to improve management of Rice Black Bug through the use of genetic resistance. Specifically, to establish the screening methodologies for resistance to rice black bug. 

The last project presented was a collaborative project by DA-PhilRice and DA-Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Improvement of the Rice Seed Information System (RSIS) for Scaling Up, Deployment, and Operationalization in Strategic Areas Nationwide. 

Ruel C. Gesmundo from the DA-BPI underscored that using the developed RSIS modules and apps require human interventions and total commitment of the industry players to use them, as well as their capacity to use through know-how enhancement, their interest and enthusiasm through inculcating the benefits and ease of using. 

He further shared that the partnership between RSIS and RCEF-Seed Program Component RSMS to extend the modules and apps of certified seed (CS) distribution and monitoring systems, which are now necessary to track the status of the CS and farmer-recipients, had also been started. The DA-PhilRice management also committed to support the project by allowing a staff to continuously make necessary improvements even after the project completion. 

Dr. Sta Cruz said that “you improve it through time but you have to buy hardware through DA-BPI.” 

To continuously develop this technology, he suggested DA-BPI to buy the hardware for sustainability. The RSIS as a tool is used for collecting, generating, processing, and sharing data through the use of ICT.  

In a nutshell,  this project is expected to enhance the Philippine rice seed industry through a platform that can collect, consolidate, and disaggregate data on rice seed production and distribution levels for project and program planning, and implementation. Moreover, it will provide easy access for the intended users and beneficiaries of the system at the national and local level of reliable data and information for program implementation, decision-making, and policy formulation. 

PMELD assistant division head Julia A. Lapitan officially closed the review by reminding the implementing agencies to submit the required documents such as progress and completion reports. (### Lea B. Calmada)