The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) will expand efforts by next year to increase the country’s rice seed production, which will largely support its target to make the Philippines rice self-sufficient in the next three years.
During the inauguration of a modern rice seed processing facility at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the government will focus on programs that will further commercialize the production of rice seeds in the country.
Piñol, together with PhilRice acting executive director Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, led the inauguration of the P200-million processing facility funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) through its “Enhancing the Capacity of Production and Distribution of High Quality Rice Seeds” program.
Build to encourage farmers to use high-quality seeds, the facility also aims to lessen the processing time and certification process for rice seeds.
“By using the right seeds, a ten percent increase on farmers’ rice yield every year is possible,” Piñol noted.
The facility is composed of two recirculating dryers and two reversible dryers, which can dry six and four tons seeds per batch, respectively.
It also has two seed cleaners, gravity separator for sorting seeds with a capacity of two tons per hour, a cold room, an office, and a generator room.
Piñol seeks to set up the same concept of facility in other rice producing areas in the country such as Davao and Soccsksargen region.
Of the R71 billion budget that the DA will get for next year, R31 billion will be allotted only for the government’s rice self-sufficiency program.
In 2017, DA is targeting to produce 18.5 million metric tons (MT) of palay, an 89.62 percent self-sufficiency ratio.
By 2018, this should improve to 96.10 percent self-sufficiency rate, with a plan to boost production to 20.3 million MT versus the projected consumption of 21.16 million MT.
A hundred percent self-sufficiency ratio should then be achieved by 2019 with palay production of 21.6 million.
“To be able to achieve that dream, we have to provide more good seeds for farmers,” Piñol said.
During the opening, Piñol likewise stressed the importance of good breeding materials in achieving the food sufficiency.
“Good genetics and good farm management are two factors the DA needs to focus on to be able to synch our strategies with the vision of the President towards affordable and accessible food for every Filipino,” he said.
He noted that the government will improve rice productivity thru the expansion of rice farmlands by at least one million hectare next year.
The initiative includes the establishment of the facility, providing of equipment, and trainings for the personnel.