By Grace Bondad Nicolas, Contributor
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Goodwill Ambassador Carl Lewis visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at Bay, Laguna, on April 10, 2012. Also present at the gathering were: His Excellency Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Philippines Prasas Prasasvinitchai, Second Secretary from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand in the Philippines Monton Chansiri, FAO representative Robert Sandoval, 60 participants from the Asian Development Bank, IRRI Director General Dr. Robert Zeigler, IRRI Program Leader for Sustainable Production Systems Dr. Bas Bouman, IRRI Experiment Station Head Leigh Vial, IRRI Senior Research Manager for Multi-Environment Trials and Seed Production, Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Alberto Pampolona.
The participants attended the Asian Irrigation Forum, followed by a field visit. The participants from the ADB visited different project sites at IRRI, like the Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment ( LTCCE), the Submergence-Tolerant Rice Experiment, the Dry-Seeded Rice and Weed Management Field Experiment, the Water X Mulching Dry-Seeded Rice Experiment, the Water X Nitrogen Dry-Seeded Rice Experiment, and the Greenhouse Gas Studies and Irrigation Scheduling for Wet-Seeded Rice Experiment.
Sophie Clayton, together with some IRRI official and Mr. Lewis, headed to Barangay Bayog, Los Baños to check the FAO project after a closed-door meeting with Dr. Zeigler.
The recently completed project of the FAO is entitled “Immediate Restoration of Food Security in Flood-affected Region IV-A (CALABARZON) through the Provision of Agriculture and Fisheries Inputs and Technical Support.” It aims to restore agriculture- and fisheries-based livelihoods and strengthen the food security of 10,406 of the most-affected farmers in Region IV-A through the provision of agricultural and fisheries inputs and technical assistance.
This activity reinforces awareness of the need for strengthened partnerships and innovative solutions for water and food security, to step up levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve the production and distribution of food and agricultural products, and to better the condition of rural populations as rural areas are home to seventy percent of the world’s poor and hungry people. FAO helps the Philippines address different development issues. These include food security and poverty, soaring food prices, rural development, agribusiness development, good agricultural practices, climate change, transboundary animal diseases, disaster preparedness and peace promotion in conflict-affected areas.
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