PhilRice and IRRI jointly protect elite breeding lines

 Liz Barona-Edna   |  

Mutual protection of elite breeding lines marked a renewed collaboration between the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), signed at the PhilRice headquarters at the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, on 3 April 2014.

Elite breeding lines are next-generation rice varieties that contribute to feeding half of the world’s population—more than 3.5 billion people and counting—who rely on rice as a source of sustenance and livelihood. These varieties, bred to help address the world’s most pressing food security challenges, have desirable traits, such as high yielding ability, disease resistance, flood, drought, heat, or salinity tolerance.

PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio Rasco and IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler signed the agreement that maps out another five years of collaboration between the two institutes.

“I am happy to represent PhilRice in this important agreement,” said Dr. Rasco. “Without IRRI, we could not have done our work in the past. I look forward to breaking new grounds of research with IRRI.”

Dr. Zeigler described PhilRice and IRRI’s partnership as one worth emulating. “Ours is a model of how an international institution like IRRI, should work with a national partner,” said Dr. Zeigler. He noted PhilRice’s current innovations as showcased in Lakbay Palay, an annual activity featuring initiatives that bring together its stakeholders from across the country.

The renewed R&D collaboration includes varietal improvement and the development of rice-based technologies to enhance rice productivity and profitability in the Philippines.

IRRI and PhilRice will also continue to jointly develop personnel capacities through training and postgraduate studies support. Intellectual property, publications, and exchange of breeding materials, as well as a business continuity plan that includes providing mutual back-up of elite breeding lines in off-site seed storage, were also among the components of the agreement.

Witnessing the signing are PhilRice Deputy Executive Director Eduardo Jimmy Quilang for development and Jose Manuel Regalado for research; and IRRI’s Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships V. Bruce J. Tolentino and Head of Partnerships Julian Lapitan.

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