Philippines and IRRI
IRRI has a special relationship with the Philippines, the country having been its home since the Institute’s founding in 1960.
Among the many milestones in this partnership, an important one was that in 1985, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) was created. IRRI has been in collaboration with Philrice in most of its research and training projects in the Philippines.
The advocacy for rice research found serious and solid support from nongovernment organizations like the Rockefeller and Ford foundations. This came as the importance of rice as staple food of “half of mankind” became clear. Such was the precursor to the rising of a research and education complex in Los Baños, Laguna where the strongest academic institution on agriculture in Asia, the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA), is located.
IRRI and UPCA combined to create a strong capacity building vehicle for local and foreign scholars and scientists. Before the establishment of Philrice in 1985, IRRI had granted 194 research scholarships to Filipino researchers for their MS and PhD degrees. IRRI also appointed postmasteral and postdoctoral fellows and offered long and short-term training courses in research.
IRRI has strong relations with its community in Los Baños. IRRI’s community projects in Bay and Los Baños have benefited scores of poor families and dependents through computer donations to public schools, training on emergency response to natural disasters, information seminars and awareness campaigns to improve the quality of life of community residents, and various livelihood projects. IRRI also spends half of its budget in the Philippines, which helps the local economy. IRRI employs about 1,200 Filipino employees, as well as more than a thousand contract farm workers.