About Asia Rice Foundation

What is the Asia Rice Foundation?

The Asia Rice Foundation (ARF) is a regional nonprofit organization that works for an Asia that can feed itself, treasures the rich heritage of its rice cultures, cares about the well-being of both its rice consumers and producers, and values its rice-growing land as a precious commodity to be shared with future generations. It brings together institutions and individuals interested and concerned about ‘rice’.

Our goal is to mobilize and provide support for research, educational, cultural, and advocacy movements that promote public appreciation of the role of rice in the diverse culture of Asia, and ensure that farmers can produce enough rice to feed Asia’s growing population while preserving the environment. To achieve its goal, ARF works closely with the member National Rice Foundations in the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand; and its affiliate chapters in industrialized countries, namely, Japan, and the U.S.A. It also works with partner organizations/institutions around the world to achieve specific objectives with shared goals.

ARF is working on rice programs that are designed to:

  • Preserve rice cultural heritage and encourage its appreciation.
  • Raise public awareness and educate the public on the importance of rice.
  • Support research and development on all aspects of rice production, processing, marketing, and consumption.
  • Promote public policies that favor the rice sector.

Why the Asia Rice Foundation?

In much of Asia, rice is the essence of survival. Poor people in both cities and rural areas spend half to three fourths of their incomes on rice and only rice. Keeping rice prices within their means is an absolute must for social, economic, and political stability and for promoting development and reducing poverty. Asia will be prosperous only if it can feed itself.

In most major rice-growing countries of Asia, rice farmers have not been able to reap the benefits of the economic prosperity and are unlikely to do better in the increasing global economy. Memberships in the WTO of many of these countries have further raised concerns. So does the issue of the Intelactual Property Right and Genetic Modified Organisms (GMO), which have split the world's opinions. Will the rice farmers of Asia survive these changes?

Rice farming, if it is to be attractive to future generations, must be transformed into a respected and economically profitable profession. More Asians must become more conscious of the importance of rice in their lives. And the priceless rice cultural heritage must also be preserved for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations.

More than 90 percent of the world's rice is grown and consumed in Asia. Asians must become more responsible for support of rice. Because of the magnitude of the tasks required, no one organization can do it all. To succeed, this massive effort must be well coordinated, timely-and well funded. The Asia Rice Foundation is working to make this happen.

Who Does the Work?

The Asia Rice Foundation works closely with its member National Rice Foundations (NRFs), which are established in major rice-growing countries of Asia to undertake rice programs, projects and activities relevant to the needs and constraints of the NRFs. They are federated together, with the Asia Rice Foundation serving as the secretariat to coordinate and provide support to their rice programs and activities.

Five national rice foundations have so far been established, one in each of the following countries: Thailand (June 2000), Indonesia (August 2001), Bangladesh (February 2002), the Philippines (June 2002), and China (February 2003).

In addition to the national rice foundations, affiliate chapters are set up in industrialized countries, such as the Asia Rice Foundation USA (http://www.asiariceusa.org) and the Asia Rice Foundation Support Group in Japan to help promote and support 'rice'.

What are the Programs?

ARF, with collaboration from its member national rice foundations and affiliate chapters, is undertaking exciting rice programs, projects, and activities around the region, in the following areas:

  • Preserving rice culture by documenting and displaying the rich rice cultural heritage to promote better understanding and appreciation among the public
  • Raising public awareness on rice through a network of media professionals from 11 countries in Asia
  • Encouraging people to think about rice through slogan, photo, and drawing contests
  • Documenting the ecological value of rice fields to show the impact on the community and the lives of the people
  • Undertaking "brown rice for health" campaigns
  • Providing grants for graduate studies to encourage more rice research
  • Producing popular publications to educate the public, particularly children, on diverse aspects of rice-from culture to recipes to trade issues
  • Holding public forums to discuss important rice issues of the day; such as intellectual property rights and biotechnology
  • Establishing the Grassroot Farmers' Participatory Rice Museum as a prototype open-air rice museum
  • Creating Rice Gardens in and around cities to educate the general public
  • ARF Publications
  • ARF Newsletter


The Asia Rice Foundation Trustees covering the period 12 June 2019 - 11 June 2020

Dr. Sjarifudin Baharsjah Dr. Santiago R. Obien
Dr. Emil Q. Javier Dr. Vo-Tong Xuan
Dr. Dolores A. Ramirez Dr. Rex Navarro
Dr. Cezar P. Mamaril Dr. Salvador Catelo
Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo          


The Asia Rice Foundation Officers covering the period 12 June 2019 - 11 June 2020

  • Dr. Santiago R. Obien - Chairman
  • Dr. Emil Q. Javier - Vice Chairman 
  • Dr. Cezar P. Mamaril - Corporate Secretary
  • Dr. Salvador P. Catelo - Executive Director
  • Dr. Dolores A. Ramirez - Treasurer

How Can You Help?
We all need to do our part to reduce poverty, prevent further environmental erosion, and ensure a prosperous future for the billions of people in Asia's rice societies. What you do today will make a difference in Asia's tomorrow.

Show you care - get involved. Make donations to the Asia Rice Foundation, be a Lifetime Member of the Asia Rice Foundation to share your expertise and/or time in the Foundation's projects and activities. Apply today.

Dr. Salvador P. Catelo
The Asia Rice Foundation
College, Laguna 4031 Philippines
Tel. No./Fax. No. +63 49 536-2285
E-mail: asia_rice@searca.org