By Robert Maico
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna Jan 28 (PNA) — Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on food and agriculture, lauded the construction of the new International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) research facility during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility Tuesday (Jan. 27) at IRRIs headquarters in this municipality.
The research center will directly benefit Filipino farmers, said Villar in her speech, This is very good for us because we are the third most at risk from climate change in the world. Problems in climate change are the realities that we Filipinos have been facing .
She described some general trends of climate change such as increases in temperature, longer dry seasons, colder night time temperatures and more exposure to destructive typhoons among others, that have been causing death and destructions in our country and have grave consequences on food crops.
The Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility will serve a very important purpose as a key international resource venue for bio-technological research of genetic diversity. The facility will nurture the study of plant particularly rice. They will produce plants that will be adaptable to every climate, it is very relevant and useful to us. Villar stated.
Meanwhile, IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Matthew Morell said that the "state-of-the-art" building will accommodate eight controlled-environment glasshouses, plant growth chambers, and plant processing and potting laboratories, and the facility's most dominant feature will be a large seed processing and storage facility.
The IRRI official said that the controlled-environment glasshouses and plant growth chambers will enable researchers to manipulate temperature, relative humidity, light intensity, photoperiod systems, water management systems, and precise control of atmospheric gases.
Further, this would give them a more accurate picture of how rice plants would be affected by wide-ranging environments, even the extreme environments that may become the norm in a world with a rapidly changing climate.
Equipped with modern technology, the facility will allow scientists to study how rice is affected by changes in the environment to which Morell acclaimed, "It's important for us to predict future climates and prepare plants or rice crops so they can flourish in those environments."
The construction of the USD 10-million facility will be completed soon and the facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2015, Morrel added. (PNA)