The Philippines is pushing for a collaboration with ASEAN members and other rice-growing countries in Asia to make rice available and affordable across the region amid challenges posed by climate change.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will present a 10-point Action Plan to the region’s top agriculture policymakers at the annual Senior Officials Meeting-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF) conference to be held next week in Palawan.
The Action Plan dovetails with the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework and includes the ASEAN Plus 3 Germplasm Development and Breeding Initiative.
This initiative effectively creates a regional technology collaboration platform that could improve the genetic resources of rice varieties available to the ASEAN Plus 3 countries.
At the same time, it enables work on a bilateral basis to accelerate the development and deployment of climate-smart rice varieties adapted to region-specific conditions of drought, flooding and salinity brought on by climate change.
“Now is the time for ASEAN to make this commitment,” said Matthew Morell, IRRI director general.
“The rice industry feeds over 600 million people in the region each day. A joint investment in rice breeding can achieve food security for the entire region, as well as create inclusive economic growth in the rice industry,” he said.
Deliberations of the SOM-AMAF will take place on August 22-26.
Participating countries in the conference will include the 10 ASEAN member countries — Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — plus China, Japan and South Korea. (PNA)