Enhancing Collaboration between Sri Lanka and the Philippines through Technical Cooperation – Training of Trainers on Rice Integrated Crop Management (PalayCheck)

The Department of the Foreign Affairs – Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines (DFA-TCCP), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila, has initiated a virtual training program on Training of Trainers (TOT) on Rice Integrated Crop Management (Palay Check) for thirty-two (32) agricultural extensions/technicians/researchers from the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture.

The PalayCheck system is a rice integrated crop management system used by the Philippines as a platform to teach crop management, disseminate rice production technologies, and best practices to farmers and extension intermediaries. The tailor-made program for Sri Lanka will be implemented through group and experiential training comprising three modules aiming to enhance the knowledge and skills of the stakeholders on the production of high-quality inbred rice and seeds, rice crop management practices, farm mechanization, and how they can teach these to farmers in their areas of coverage.

DFA-TCCP Director General Mme. Lilybeth Deapera, in her opening remarks, discussed that the activity is the third stage of their agency’s technical assistance program for Sri Lanka based on the findings of their needs assessment visit in the country in 2019. She thanked all the stakeholders including the Embassy and the participating government agencies from Sri Lanka and the Philippines for their valuable cooperation and support all throughout the program.

In her message, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Philippines Shobini Gunasekera, elaborated on the crucial role of the agriculture industry in economic and national development. She also discussed the policies and initiatives of the Government of Sri Lanka under its national policy framework, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, on modernizing agriculture, increasing land productivity, and promoting inclusive development towards rice self-sufficiency and sustainability.

She also extended her appreciation to the DFA-TCCP and DA-PhilRice as well as all the relevant line agencies from both countries who took part in all of the three initiatives under the technical assistance program which fostered collaboration in areas of mutual priority towards the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture-Philippines and Philippine Ambassador to Bangladesh H.E. Alan Deniega also gave their messages of support to the activity. Meanwhile, Dr. Karen Eloisa Barroga, Deputy Executive Director for Development of PhilRice, presented an overview and introduced the participants and training management team.

The Technical Assistance Program is a South-South cooperation initiative of the DFA-TCCP aiming to provide technical assistance to developing countries in Asia and the Pacific in areas where the Philippines have developed an expertise. The series of activities including the above are in line with the mutual goal of enhancing bilateral cooperation on account of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2021.