Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The proposal of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to the ASEAN +3 to develop new rice varieties amid global climate change hopes to produce new rice varieties that are resilient to multiple environmental stresses, pest and diseases and aims to elevate the production capacity in the region.
IRRI director general Matthew Morell said the proposal is to build a comprehensive testing and selection that is backed up by training capacity for its national partners. “We are not just transferring these new varieties but we are doing it with the national partners for them to conduct it themselves,” he added.
The Philippines, represented by Agriculture Secretary William Dar, endorsed and motioned IRRI’s proposal during the ministerial meeting that hopes to secure strong support from the +3 countries, namely Korea, Japan and China.
ASEAN has implemented numerous cooperation projects in food, agriculture and forestry sectors, which cover a wide spectrum of activities ranging from exchange of information, crop production, postharvest and handling, training and extension, research and development, as well as trade promotion in the areas of crops, livestock, fisheries, and forestry.
In order to respond to trade globalization, ASEAN cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry is now more focused on the enhancement of the competitiveness in international markets of products from those sectors, while sustaining agricultural production.
The development of new rice varieties that are more suited for the future challenges brought about by climate change will be critical if the region is to mitigate its negative effects and allow the people of our region to survive, adapt and thrive. ASEAN +3 should be able to work with IRRI towards this goal in order to protect the sustainability and supply of rice in the coming years that could pose many challenges for farmers and the industry as a whole.*