DA to expand rice R&D efforts to boost output

January 13, 2015 11:51 pm 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, Jan. 13 (PNA) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday said that it will be expanding its research and development (R&D) efforts on rice this year to help further improve production of the staple.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the DA is also readying plans to intensify the commercialization of diversified and integrated rice-based farming systems such as Palayamanan to increase farmers’ productivity and incomes.

“In Palayamanan, farmers are taught to combine rice growing with the cultivation of vegetables and other high value crops as well as fish and livestock raising,” the Agrulculture chief explained.

DA promotes the technology through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the National Rice Program.

The DA chief noted that rice production in the Philippines has been on the uptrend for the past three years.

Between 2010 and 2013, milled rice production grew by an average of 4.04 percent according to PhilRice.

For 2014, palay harvest is projected to reach 18.88 million MT, 2.4 percent bigger than the 2013 record output of 18.44 million MT.

Alcala said the entire country owes this to the farmers who tirelessly worked to lead the country towards greater rice sufficiency and increased food security.

"We could not have reached these milestones without the farmers and without prompt and proper intervention from the government. Never before has the country had this increment in rice production," he said.

DA is also banking on its current partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in support of the government’s food security blueprint called the Food Staples Sufficiency Program.

Under the agreement, DA and IRRI would work together to produce and distribute high-quality and improved rice seeds that are adaptable to climate change.

In addition, best agricultural practices and other support tools will be disseminated, including skills-training for extension and field workers.

“The Department also intends to engage in profiling, finger printing and purification of traditional rice varieties with export potentials,” Alcala said.

He added that regional or provincial location-specific technology development and adaptive studies for irrigated, rain-fed and upland ecosystem is also included in the DA’s agenda.

“Participatory varietal selection for favorable and adverse environment is included in the DA’s expanded R&D agenda for rice. The DA will also enhance rice research capability and capacity, which includes improving and increasing facilities, equipment and manpower,” Alcala said. (PNA)

FPV/CMR

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