Gov’t adopts science-based farming to reduce importation – DA chief

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

November 29, 2023, 5:15 pm

<p>Rice farm<em> (Photo courtesy of Department of Agriculture-PhilRice)</em></p>

Rice farm (Photo courtesy of Department of Agriculture-PhilRice)

MANILA – The national government is adopting the latest technologies and building more agricultural infrastructures to improve rice production and increase farm yield and grain supply, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said Wednesday.

Tiu Laurel said the government “is moving with a sense of urgency” to widen irrigation coverage and set up more drying facilities and other infrastructures needed to boost rice yield.

“Ultimately, our aim is to minimize rice importation to achieve food security and sufficiency,” he said at the 35th National Rice R4D Conference in Nueva Ecija.

So far, the country has imported around 2.8 million tons, 1 million tons less than the volume of grains bought from abroad last year, with improved rice harvest.

Laurel said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wanted a sustainable rice value chain in the country which could be achieved through the prioritization of research and development.

He said Marcos wants livestock, poultry, fisheries and high value crops to be affordable, readily available and accessible to Filipino consumers.

Marcos also assured that law enforcement agencies are ready to go after smugglers, hoarders and price manipulators of farm products to protect both consumers and farmers, Tiu Laurel added.

Citing that many of the 10 million farmers and fisherfolk are considered poor, Laurel said minimized importation of rice and other agricultural products would create more jobs and reverse the shrinking trend of agriculture’s contribution to economic growth.

Latest DA data show that around 2.4 million agricultural workers are involved in rice farming and many of them are already approaching their senior years.

“We hope to attract a new generation of farmers, researchers, and innovators who will ensure the country’s food security in the years to come,” he said. (PNA)