Hong Kong & Philippines | January 14 - 25, 2013
In January 2013, twenty-four global managers from nine countries responded to International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)’s invitation to make business recommendations on ways to commercialise its research technology and used IRRI’s Nutrient Manager for Rice (NMR) as a basis for a business model. This exercise, the first of its kind for IRRI, highlights the institute’s desire to diversify its approach to private sector involvement and assess its standing on profit-making initiatives.
This project was the experiential component of Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT)'s flagship Global Leaders Programme (GLP). The programme exposes participants to the shifting socio-political and economic landscape across Asia and the need for new business models which can address the region’s most pressing challenges.
"I discovered through the programme that for a leader it takes a tremendous amount of will power and relentless pursuit to encourage new ways of thinking and new ideas in an organisation."
Kalpana Beesabathuni | Head - Sight and Life (India), DSM
"The programme has opened my eyes to the importance of critical thinking. I learnt that empathy and being able to connect with people from other cultures and with different points of view are key leadership traits; without these skills there is little chance to create a sphere of influence."
Bruce Lorange | Area General Manager, DFS Saipan Ltd.
The Republic of the Philippines is located in Southeast Asia, and lies within the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a region of frequent volcanic and seismic activity. An archipelago comprised of 7,107 islands, the country is the 3rd largest economy in ASEAN after Indonesia and Thailand.
Despite having one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia with a 7% GDP growth in 2012, a third of the population still lives below the poverty line, especially in rural areas where almost 80% of the country’s poor live and survive on subsistence farming.
In 2013, the agriculture sector contributed to 11.25% of the GDP and employed a third of the country’s total labour force. The Philippines is a net importer of agricultural products. Strategic crops such as rice and wheat are amongst the most imported items.
DISTINGUISHED GUEST SPEAKERS
In both Hong Kong and the Philippines, GLP participants heard from respected leaders in business, civil society and academia.
AMIRALI NASIR, Solicitor and former Chairman of the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong
PROF. HIDEAKE 'HIDEH' TAKAHASHI, Professor, Keio University
DR. BRUCE TOLENTINO, Deputy Director-General, IRRI
SCIENCE: BEYOND THE LAB AND INTO THE FIELD
A speech by CHANDRAN NAIR, GIFT Founder & CEO at IRRI
ON THE GROUND IN LAGUANA AND QUEZON PROVINCES
In the Philippines, the group received presentations by key scientists and management from IRRI on the Nutrient Manager, rice pricing and value chains and visited IRRI’s Genebank. The experience was complemented with site visits to the villages of Infanta and Victoria, enriching participants’ knowledge of the Philippines as they met with local rice farmers and growers, a mill owner and cooperative.
Headquartered in Los Banos, Philippines, IRRI has accumulated more than 50 years’ research and knowledge on every aspect of rice and rice farming. On top of its 252 hectares of experimental farms, IRRI also hosts the world’s largest rice gene bank, with over 120,000 preserved seed varieties.
Adoption of effective crop management practices to maintain soil fertility and ecological balance is central to food security.
Village scale rice mill serves the processing needs of smallholder households.
Guidance on fertiliser usage is crucial to smallholder farmers in sustainable farming.
Farmers cooperative supports farmers in production and marketing.
WORKING TOWARDS A SOLUTION
The GLP uses real-world field projects to hone the practical skills needed to manage diverse teams in unfamiliar situations. Through meetings with government, community and business leaders, and through frank and open discussions amongst themselves, participants learn to navigate conflicting and contradictory views to transform concepts and theories into realities on the ground.
Participants developed a plan for IRRI and recommended the establishment of a new company to drive an integrated ICT platform to improve rice crop management and provide farmers with access to credit, farming-related information and services.
Below are a few slides from the full business plan developed by participants.
The Global Leaders Programme ends with a public forum, where participants present highlights from their business model to an audience of local community leaders, businessmen, government officials, representatives from NGOs and international agencies, and students.