Mr. Patrick Renucci and Ms. Rachel Tan

One of world’s best rice varieties grows in Leyte

November 24, 2019

LEYTE, Philippines — One of the world’s best rice is in the Philippines and it’s a new kid on the block.
While the rice industry is beset with uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, one company is making waves by proudly producing local rice.

Renucci Rice has been recognized as the third best at the World Rice Conference held recently at Makati Shangri-La, making it the first Filipino company to win at the World Best Rice Contest, ranking just behind Thailand and Vietnam.

When typhoon Haiyan or locally known as Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the country in 2013, images of the devastation found their way all over the world.
Haiyan after all was one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded.

When husband and wife Patrick François Renucci and Rachel Renucci-Tan, then living in Paris -- saw photos of the destruction, they both felt they needed to do something to help the people of Leyte, the hardest hit province.

Patrick used to own and operate one of the largest printing companies in France while Rachel used to run a real estate investment management company in Hong Kong and London.
“When we saw the images in the newspapers, we said to ourselves ‘we need to do something,” Patrick said.

They felt they would really be able to help if they could provide post-typhoon livelihood to the people of Leyte.

So they decided to leave their charmed life in Paris and moved to Alangalang, Leyte.
In an interview with The Star, the couple said they decided to invest in a rice business in Leyte to help the farmers.
Thus, Renucci Rice was born.

They put up the Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Center (RPC), which they claimed is the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia.

RPC is a fully automated facility that covers the entire rice production process. It is centralized and operated from touch screen panels in a single control room.

“Palay (unhusked rice) is stored in various temperature controlled wet bins before and after drying by multiple high-powered biomass dryers in order to maintain its freshness. Palay is then stored in silos with temperature held constant at 21 degrees, keeping the palay freshly harvested for more than a year.

Palay is electronically weighed to avoid cheating. It is pre-cleaned before drying to guarantee clean and pest-free dried paddies, ready for state-of-the art milling.

The RPC deploys Japanese technology that purifies the air emitted into its dust room, purging dust and dirt from the drying and milling process, so that only clean air is blown out into the environment.

Chen Yi produces delicious, aromatic, clean, pesticide free rice to the market. Palay is sourced from Leyte’s rice farmers -- unmixed, pure, all natural.

The company provides farmers with high quality locally produced inbred seeds, fertilizers and other inputs, including end-to-end mechanization to increase their yield while controlling the quality of their palay.

Chen Yi is the first fully integrated and sustainable rice business of this scale in the Philippines.
Leyte after all is a top rice producing region in the country.

Rachel said with their trailblazing model -- getting directly from farmers and removing the middle men who only wittingly or unwittingly leave farmers in debt -- they can achieve their goal.
“This is breaking them free from the cycle of debt and it increases farmers’ productivity,” she said.
Rachel is optimistic the model will work and can even be replicated in other rice producing regions all over the country.

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