DA co-organizes International Rice Congress 2023 in October

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) has pledged support in co-organizing the largest gathering of the stakeholders of rice-based food systems worldwide in the Philippines from October 16 to 19, 2023 with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

“Rice is one of the priority areas of the Philippine government to achieve food self-sufficiency and improve the lives of Filipino farmers,” DA Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development, Leocadio Sebastian said on Monday.

“At International Rice Congress [IRC] 2023, we can learn about recent advancements in genetic, digital and nature-based solutions, offering valuable insights to address the various challenges faced by the rice industry in the Philippines,” he said in a statement.

Since 2002, IRC has served as a platform for scientists, experts and decision makers from the government, private and public sector to develop evidence-based solutions to the challenges of the global rice sector. Rice, being the staple food for more than half of the global population, remains a critical commodity for farmers, consumers, and government decision makers.

For his part, IRRI Director General Jean Balié said that “while IRRI is excited to showcase cutting-edge technology, and breakthrough studies and innovations from different parts of the world during IRC 2023, we would like to emphasize the urgency to focus the discussions on how to provide holistic science-based solutions to the combined impacts of climate extremes, looming rice crisis, conflict and economic shocks to the rice value chain.”

“We look forward to meeting long-time partners and collaborators as well as new players in the agri-food, climate change, and nutrition sector and learn from each other,” he added.

This year’s IRC will revolve around the theme “Accelerating Transformation of Rice-Based Food Systems: From Gene to Globe” to highlight solutions and innovations that could help address critical issues on agriculture and climate change, food and nutrition security, environmental sustainability, and human and economic development.

The conference provides a unique opportunity to convene globally leading experts in agricultural industry, research and development, academia, and civil society to network with individuals and organizations and harness each other’s potential and find areas of collaboration.

This year, the sixth edition of IRC will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which has recently been declared as a Natural Cultural Treasure for its richness in Filipino history, heritage and culture. Previous IRC were held in Beijing (2002), New Delhi (2006), Hanoi (2010), Bangkok (2014), and Singapore (2018).

This will be the first time that the conference will be held in the Philippines, the headquarters of IRRI.