THERE is a need to focus on markets, innovations, scale, mainstreaming and outcomes in order to achieve the government’s effort to transform Philippine agriculture.
Dr. Frisco Malabanan, Department of Agriculture-Masagana Rice Industry Development Program (MRIDP)DA-MRIDP Productivity Enhancement Focal Person, said this during the recently-held 16th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) in Hagonoy and Digos City, Davao del Sur.
During the forum, with the theme “Masaganang Palay at Bigas, Maunlad na Pilipinas, Malabanan stressed the need to mainstream the transformation efforts into the country’s policies, programs and investment plans.
He also discussed the program goals of attaining a stable rice supply, affordable rice, prosperous rice-based farming communities and a nutritious rice-secured population under the overall goal of 97.5% rice self-sufficiency by 2028.
Malabanan further disclosed their immediate plans for the program such as the distribution of inputs such as hybrid seeds, biofertilizers and inorganic fertilizers, the provision of drone services and the intensified promotion of farm clustering and consolidation.
The NRTF promoted the adoption of yield-boosting rice technologies by showcasing high-yielding and climate-resilient rice varieties, machinery and best practices in a 131.83-hectare demonstration area.
Through the collaboration of the national government, local government units (LGUs), local farmers and other partners and stakeholders from the private sector, the NRTF was held as a response to the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., to boost the country’s local rice production and ensure food security through convergence and cooperation.
The DA-Davao Regional Field Office (RFO 11), DA-Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC 11) and the private sector-led Rice Board spearheaded the event that started off with a field tour at the technology demonstration farms in Poblacion, Hagonoy.
The techno demo farms showcased 24 hybrid rice varieties and smart technologies that have been tried and tested to be high-yielding, pest and disease-resistant and climate-resilient, contributing to higher income for farmers and high-quality and affordable rice for consumers.
During the NRTF, 13 seed companies and six nutrient management companies presented their products, best practices and technologies for proper land preparation, soil and water management, nutrient management and pest and disease management, among others.
In addition, the NRTF featured a Tekno-Tiangge, or a Technology Marketplace, and a “Tektok” or the Digital Agriculture and Farm Machinery and Equipment Demo.
Officials and representatives from the Rice Board, DOST-PAGASA and DA offices including the MRIDP, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) also played key roles during the event.
They discussed the plans and programs to ramp up local production, El Niño action plans, hybrid and inbred rice production, balanced fertilization strategies, pest and disease management, mechanization and digital agriculture, among others.