|Representatives from the private sector and concerned government agencies address concerns affecting the |
competitiveness and sustainability of the Philippine rice industry.
Key rice industry stakeholders arrived at a consensus on the formulation of a unified strategic policy framework for the rice industry during the island-wide rice consultation held in Davao City last December 11-12 and in Quezon City last December 15-16, respectively.
Representatives from concerned Department of Agriculture Regional Field Offices (RFOs), local government units, rice farmer organizations, business sector including traders/millers, seed growers, and input suppliers, Regional and Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Councils (RAFCs/PAFCs), and civil society organizations engaged in rice industry development participated in the said events.
The area-wide consultations were undertaken by the DA, in collaboration with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the local rice industry especially in light of the termination of the quantitative restriction implemented by the Philippines on rice imports in June 2017.
The discussions were focused on the seven thematic areas identified as factors contributing to the competitiveness of the industry. These are seeds and other inputs, labor and mechanization and post-harvest, irrigation, marketing, credit, guarantee, and insurance, farming system, and organic farming.
Among their proposals for the development of the Philippine rice industry are the expansion of the coverage of the Sikat Saka credit program, review and update the design of the irrigation structure to consider potential impacts of climate change, additional training and orientation on the proper use and maintenance of farm machineries, provision of collapsible and other drying facilities to farmers cooperatives through the DA Post-Harvest Program, revival of the provision of the fertilizer subsidy through community-based organic composting, and increase seed production support to breeding institutions and seed growers.
In his closing message, PCAF Exec. Dir. Ariel Cayanan emphasized the importance of actively engaging the farmers and other stakeholders all over the country in the development of policies to reform the rice industry.
“This consultation has indeed served as a venue for the convergence of different groups from both public and private sectors,” Dir. Cayanan added.
Subsequent to the Mindanao and Luzon-wide rice consultations, the Visayas leg of the undertaking will be held early next year, followed by the national rice summit which will be the culminating event and where the DA and the PCAF hope to secure the commitments of all parties to the unified strategic framework for a competitive and sustainable rice industry by 2017.