United effort makes rice sufficiency reachable — DA chief

December 2, 2023 Joel dela Torre 140 views

THE dream of being rice sufficient is very much achievable for as long all sectors in the society work in harmony.

This was stressed by Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel as the department is set to launch massive modernization in compliance to the directive of President Marcos Jr.

In his visit to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, Laurel told rice experts and scientists the importance of harmonized efforts from all sectors to attain food sufficiency.

A confident DA chief said he would not take the cabinet post and taken the responsibility if he didn’t see any hope in the agriculture sector.

“We just have to work in harmony,” Laurel said.

The government he pointed out, is now focused on improving rice production and reducing post-harvest losses through science and technology.

“We just have to focus our efforts and synchronize with each other in implementing our rice programs with all agencies, local government units, and stakeholders,” Laurel said.

The DA head also committed to look into the staffing of PhilRice, and bring in more employees to its current 297 personnel, as well as scientists to help improve the Philippine rice sector.

PhilRice executive director John de Leon said the agency now employs 1,500 as contractual workers, many of them highly capable in their respective fields.

With 140-hectares and eight stations throughout the country, Laurel recognized that PhilRice is severely undermanned, especially for its central role in producing seeds and developing technology that would help increase rice output.