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An assembly of cross-continental experts in rice science and technology is set to lead the programmes and discussions in the International Rice Congress 2023 (IRC 2023) 

irri rpda announce irc2023 story1 IRC23 is having a set of keynote speakers that will provide critical perspectives on the most timely rice cultivation issues globally. (Image source: IRRI)

These resource persons representing the academia, private companies, and research institutions in countries across Asia, Africa, as well as the United States are setting the tone at this year’s IRC at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, Philippines.

The keynote speakers and presenters include epigenetics expert Sally Mackenzie, director of the Plant Institute; Huck Chair of Functional Genomics; professor of biology and of plant science at the Pennsylvania State University, Michael Graham, head of R&D Breeding at Bayer Crop Science, the event’s platinum sponsor, IRC Silver Sponsor Regrow Ag chief strategy officer William Salas, and Yvonne Pinto, director bioeconomy AgBio at Eagle Genomics Ltd., among other high level speakers from the research and private sectors.

Representatives from the Department of Agriculture and IRRI held a press conference at IRRI’s Los Baños headquarters to share key conference updates and IRRI-DA collaborations on climate resilient rice among other issues.

“This year’s IRC is an excellent platform for rice professionals to network, learn from other experts, and update themselves on current knowledge and practice. We are pleased to gather the foremost experts from all over the world here in the Philippines,” said Alice Laborte, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Laborte is a member of the Overall Organising Committee at IRC.

“IRC is the largest gathering of stakeholders of rice-based food systems worldwide. We are delighted to have a set of keynote speakers that will provide critical perspectives on the most timely rice cultivation issues globally, whether it be flood-resistant seeds or agronomic practices, agricultural IT solutions or post-harvest technologies” said Ajay Kohli, deputy director general for research at IRRI. He is also a member of the IRC 2023 Overall Organising Committee.

Meanwhile, the Africa-Asia panel will explore rice cultivation challenges, knowledge gaps and complementary solutions on each continent.

The panel’s experts will include Himanshu Pathak, secretary, Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE), New Delhi and director general, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Baboucarr Manneh, director general of AfricaRice; Keijiro Otsuka, professor-development economics, Kobe University, Japan.

IRC is an important forum for identifying solutions that can contribute to the future productivity improvements needed, including the latest findings in genetic research. Bringing rice experts together in one venue at the IRC 2023 is a significant advantage for participants representing the entire rice value chain – from rice farmers and producers to marketers and consumers.

“The Philippine government supports advances in agricultural research and technologies, especially those that can modernize farming practices while simultaneously enhancing food security. Events like IRC play a pivotal role in presenting and disseminating new knowledge in the rice sector,“ said Mercedita Sombilla, Undersecretary, Philippine Department of Agriculture. Sombilla is one of the Alternate Co-Chairs of the IRC 2023 High Level Advisory Committee. The Philippine Department of Agriculture is IRRI’s co-organiser for the IRC 2023.

With its central theme 'Accelerating Transformation of Rice-Based Food Systems: From Gene to Globe', IRC 2023 will 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.