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A country of 7,107 islands spread along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is considered a climate hotspot owing to its geographic location and archipelagic formation. Mountainous with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands, an average of 20 to 25 typhoons hit the country every year, bringing destructive floods and landslides. Its low-lying coastal areas are also predicted to be affected by the rising sea-water level.

Agriculture remains a major economic activity in the country, providing 37% of the total jobs available. The agricultural sector, which includes fishery and forestry, however, accounts for only 20% of the economy’s aggregate domestic output (GDP).

The map below shows the upland areas in the Philippines.

Marginal uplands in the Philippines

Rice is grown extensively throughout the archipelago and is a staple in most Filipinos’ diet, accounting for about 35% of per capita total calorie intake. For households at the lower income levels, rice consumption accounts for as much as 60% to 65% of the total calorie intake. 
The Philippines is among the top ten rice-producing countries (eighth place) but is also a top importer. Increases in rice production during the 1970s largely because of the adoption of improved rice varieties and improvement in the country’s irrigation system were slowly affected by budgetary and foreign debt problems, a rapidly ballooning population, rampant land conversion, and a lack of government support. 

Rice area affected by drought totals 36,080 hectares.

Drought-affected areas in the Philippines.

The total rice area affected by salinity is estimated at 27,060 hectares.

Salt-affected areas in the Philippines

Key institutions


Key scientists

  • Dr. Nenita Desamero, PhilRice
  • Ms. Alice Mataia, PhilRice
  • Dr. Rose Hondrade, USM
  • Dr. Edwin Hondrade, USM

Released rice varieties

 Name of variety Year released Ecosystem
 NSIC Rc274 (Sahod Ulan 3) 2011 Drought
 NSIC Rc278 (Sahod Ulan 5) 2011 Drought
 NSIC Rc280 (Sahod Ulan 6) 2011 Drought
 NSIC Rc284 (Sahod Ulan 8) 2011 Drought
 NSIC Rc270 (Sahod Ulan 1) 2009 Drought
 NSIC 2013 Rc324 (Salinas 10) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc326 (Salinas 11) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc328 (Salinas 12) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc330 (Salinas 13) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc332 (Salinas 14) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc334 (Salinas 15) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc336 (Salinas 16) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc338 (Salinas 17) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC 2013 Rc340 (Salinas 18) 2013 Salinity
 NSIC Rc290 (Salinas 6) 2011 Salinity
 NSIC Rc292 (Salinas 7) 2011 Salinity
 NSIC Rc294 (Salinas 8) 2011 Salinity
 NSIC Rc296 (Salinas 9) 2011 Salinity
 NSIC Rc182 (Salinas 1) 2009 Salinity
 NSIC Rc184 (Salinas 2) 2009 Salinity
 NSIC Rc186 (Salinas 3) 2009 Salinity
 NSIC Rc188 (Salinas 4) 2009 Salinity
 NSIC Rc190 (Salinas 5) 2009 Salinity
 Submarino (IR64-sub1) 2009 Submergence
 NSIC Rc23 (Katihan 1) 2011 Upland


  • Drought
  • Salinity
  • Upland

Research activities

  • Focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted at the pilot sites by IRRI and PhilRice.
  • Rainfed lowland variety trial-cum-participatory technology demonstration. This activity determined the performance of the newly released varieties in farmers’ fields, evaluated the competitiveness of varieties and their reactions against weeds in the area, and the major insect pests and diseases at the site.
  • Nutrient Manager for Rice is a tool for optimally managing fertilizer application for high grain yield and profitability in rainfed lowlands.
  • Enhancing the capacity of farmers in rice production through the farmers’ field school (FFS) by using the PalayCheck® Platform in Victoria, Tarlac. PalayCheck is a dynamic rice crop management system that presents the best key technology and management practices as Key Checks, compares farmer practices with the best practices, and teaches through farmers’ discussion groups to sustain improvement in productivity, profitability, and environmental safety.
Summary of R&D efforts

  • 2 field trials with 15 lines tested
  • 5 field visits
  • 1 PVS activity with 11 lines tested
  • 5 varieties released: Sahod Ulan 1, Sahod Ulan 3, Sahod Ulan 5, Sahod Ulan 6, and Sahod Ulan 8

Salinity. Partners showcased an on-farm technology demo of salt-tolerant rice varieties and produced on-station quality seeds for commercialization. IR58443-6B-10-3 exhibited high tolerance at both the seedling and reproductive stage, with a maturity of 120 days.

Uplands. Rice varieties for the uplands. The University of Southern Mindanao, Philippines, and Philippine Rice Research Institute evaluated different sets of rice genotypes under PVS trials and observational nurseries at theCURE site in Arakan, Cotabato.

Participatory varietal selection (PVS). PVS trials of 24 rice genotypes (3 released varieties, 18 elite lines, 3 traditional varieties) were set up at the CURE site in Arakan, Cotabato. 

In addition to the above evaluation activities, USM also collected 115 entries (90 local upland rice collections, 20 promising lowland rice varieties, and 5 rainfed lowland rice varieties). These were included in the observational nursery evaluated at the CURE site in Arakan, Cotabato. 

Community-based seed bank. The Arakan Community Seed Bank Organization through the initiative of the LGU Arakan Office of Municipal Agriculture forged linkages with Don Bosco, an NGO that has established market outlets in Cotabato and in Manila for Arakan farmers’ organically produced traditional rice varieties. These traditional varieties include Dinorado, black rice, and red rice.

Enhancing the value of heirloom rice. One of the activities in the uplands, including highlands, is to assess the diversity of traditional varieties in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)through genetic profiling and morphological characterization.