Dioscoro Umali

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Dioscoro L. Umali (November 17, 1917-July 1, 1992) was a Filipino scientist, educator, research organizer, development administrator, and a science statesman. He was known as the Father of Philippine Plant Breeding.


Dr. Umali had his primary schooling at Biñan, Laguna, his birthplace, but later finished high school at Manila West High School (currently Torres High School). He then enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA), and finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1939. In 1946 the UPCA sent him to Cornell University as a University Fellow. He earned his Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding in 1949.

Career and Contributions

Dr. Umali, or DLU to his colleagues, was known for breeding improved varieties of food grains, legumes, fruits, and ornamental plants. He has produced numerous writings which inspired programs such as the rainfed and upland agriculture, social forestry, environmental conservation, and rural poverty alleviation programs.

Under his leadership, the UP College of Agriculture became Asia's premier institution of higher learning in Asia, at the time having the densest population of M.S. and Ph.D. degree holders in Southeast Asia. He restructured the college's system in order to consider the difficulties experienced by farmers and fishermen. He also held the position of Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations from 1972-1981.

Because of his innumerable contributions to science and human development, he received five Honoris causa degrees from national and international universities. He also was the recipient of a Presidential Award in 1969 and the title of Distinguished Educator and Scholar Meritissimus, among others. In 1986, Former President Corazon Aquino conferred him as a National Scientist.


  • Gorgonio, Luis (1998). The Filipino Scientists. Loacan Publishing House.
  • National Academy of Science and Technology (2000). National Scientists of the Philippines (1978-1998). Anvil Publishing, Inc.



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