IRRI, DA hold 6th international rice congress

The Philippines, through the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), hosted the sixth International Rice Congress (IRC), themed ‘Accelerating Transformation of Rice-Based Food Systems: From Gene to Globe,’ on 16 to 19 October 2023 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila. 

In his keynote address, Philippine President and DA secretary Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. recognized the congress as an effective avenue to compare and re-evaluate policies, discuss ideas for enhancing the rice value chain, and introduce better practices and technologies. 

“We also work together with international financial institutions like the IRRI and foreign governments, not only to ensure a steady supply of rice but also to enhance the development and sharing of crucial technologies and strategies. We are working on our disaster preparedness and resilience so that the rice industry could correspond and adapt to the effects of El Niño and other calamities,” the President emphasized. 

The four-day event highlighted the need for rice industry stakeholders to convene, converse, and converge to accelerate dissemination and scaling up of science-based innovations to attain global food security. 

It convened scientists, experts, and decision-makers from the government, private, and public sectors to formulate evidence-based solutions to some of the biggest challenges of the global rice sector. It likewise paved the way for conversations on innovations and research agenda that could drive the development of solutions to accelerate urgently needed transformations in the rice sector. 

Finally, the event served as a platform for private sector groups, from global corporations to agripreneurial startups as well as scientific and research communities to converge and showcase their innovations, build their networks, and secure partnerships and investments. 

The DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research served as a member of the overall organizing committee and chair of the local organizing committee of the DA’s working committees for the 6th IRC. Director Junel B. Soriano and assistant director Joell H. Lales led the bureau’s delegation to the congress.  

Convened every four years and held for the first time in the Philippines, the IRC is a scientific platform for rice-based food systems innovators to work towards shaping a food- and nutrition-secure future. Previous IRC events were held in Singapore (2018), Bangkok (2014), Hanoi (2010), New Delhi (2006), and Beijing (2002). (### Lea B. Calmada)