IRRI Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna
November 29, 2022

Aiming to strengthen the government’s partnership and collaboration with the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science to achieve his goals for the agricultural sector, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

The President toured the International Rice Genebank where IRRI senior scientists presented their respective inventions and gave a briefing on the panel outdoor exhibit. The genebank is the biggest collection of rice genetic diversity in the world. Countries send their rice to IRRI for safekeeping and sharing for the common public good. Each type of rice is stored in both the base (-20 degrees Celsius, long-term storage) and active (2-4 degrees Celsius, for distribution) collections.

He viewed a drone demonstration that is being used for a variety of applications in rice research and production. Mapping drones with high-resolution cameras can measure key traits and monitor crop health and performance in real-time, and aid in the precision management of nutrients, water, weeds, pests and diseases. Larger drones can be used for directing seeding rice, fertilizer application, and spraying of pesticides and herbicides.

Thereafter, the Chief Executive staged a photo reenactment of the same scene in IRRI when his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., visited in 1966. He received an original print of the same circa 1966 photo from Dr. Jean Balie, Director General of IRRI.

Dr. Balie paid a courtesy call on President Marcos Jr. in the next activity where they discussed the President’s expectations of IRRI in support of his plans to transform and modernize the agricultural sector, specifically rice-based food system, among other matters.

The President concluded his visit by holding a meeting with the IRRI Board of Trustees as well as selected officials from the IRRI, Department of Agriculture and other participants. As concurrent Agriculture Secretary, President Marcos Jr. serves as an ex-officio member of the IRRI’s Board of Trustees.

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