DA to achieve rice sufficiency affordable for all Filipinos by 2019

25.07.2016

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he is determined to achieve “rice sufficiency” affordable for all Filipinos by 2019.

This, he said is consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders to Department of Agriculture (DA): Make sure that there is available and affordable food for the Filipinos and stop corruption in the department.

Piñol said that from now on DA will only build farm-to-market roads based on two criteria: The road would either lead to a food production area or to a potential food production area.

“Outside it will not be allowed,” he insisted, stressing that he will not tolerate any corrupt practice in the department while under his watch.

According to him, as chief of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), his marching order from the President along with Philippine Coast Guard is “to curb illegal fishing in the entire Philippines.”

“Kailangan talagang mawala lahat ang illegal fishing and other illegal methods of fishing in the country (There’s really a need to rid the country of all illegal fishing and other illegal methods of fishing),” he said.

Piñol pointed out that BFAR’s program under him will be aligned with DA’s food sufficiency.

“So any project in the fisheries that is not aligned with food sufficiency will be stopped and be supplemented by projects that are on food sufficiency,” he said.

On rice importation, Piñol said that it would be up to the President to make the decision based on the recommendation of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, which he is not a member as of the moment.

“Nagtatanim naman ang mga tao ngayon in some parts of the country medyo maganda na ang tubo ng palay medyo wala na ang El Nino I think there will be a bumper harvest this season,” he said.

He also acknowledged that low price in agricultural produce during harvest season is a “recurring problem” caused by insufficient government post-harvest facilities and NFA’s inability to take in high volumes of rice and corn.

Secretary Piñol then vowed to prepare for a bumper crop to enable farmers to have or sustain high productive yields.

“Actually, we will make sure that our farmers will be assisted… So we would like to prepare for that. We will be proactive,” he assured, saying he would explore the possibilities of re-opening the corn drying facility in Kabacan town, North Cotabato and would ask a cooperative in the area to operate it.

The facility is under the state-owned National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), DA’s countryside agri-business enterprise established to help farmers improve productivity and income which was abolished after it was embroiled in a pork barrel scam.


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