Rice is a staple crop in agriculture in the Philippines. If you are not yet aware of the foods of Pinoy, rice is the one that shouldn’t be missing in every meal. The Filipinos prefer to eat meals with rice, unlike any other country. Rice has been traditionally used in other dishes such as rice cakes, fried rice, Arroz Caldo, Champorado, and many others.
According to the Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar that “We target to produce 20.4 million metric tons (MMT) of palay, surpassing last year’s record harvest of 19.4 MMT, and factoring in challenges of the lingering pandemic and adverse weather conditions,”.
“Coupled with this, we also aim to stabilize the farmgate prices of palay and retail price of rice to benefit millions of farmers and consumers alike and with tightening global food supply due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will strongly implement interventions to attain a higher rice adequacy level from last year’s 90 percent to about 95 percent this year,” Secretary Dar added.
Under the Duterte administration, they target to produce 20.47 MMT of palay from 4.74 million hectares (ha). By having major interventions, particularly the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), expanded RCEF, Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), and Regular National Rice Program (NRP) the farmer will be provided with inbred and hybrid rice variety seeds that will be given freely.
Aside from the seeds given to the rice farmers, machinery will also be distributed to improve the production palay (unhusked rice) to the Irrigators Associations (IAs) of Palawan supported by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) as a part of the mechanization component of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Jibsam Andres, the president of Dumangueña-Manaile River Irrigators Association (DUMRIA) in Narra, Palawan said that there are four-wheel tractors and a unit of combine harvester from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Ang maganda dyan, ang palay kapag umulan, kaunting maghangin-hangin lang ay pwede na pasukin ng harvester, unlike sa thresher pa, kahit na mainit ‘yong panahon sa paggapas mo, kapag biglang umulan, ‘yong nakaumpok na palay ay mababasa, masisira siya. Sa harvester ay maganda ang quality ng farm products,” he explained.
“Development sa production, dati kasi ang farmers ay nagbabayad sa arawan ng mga gumagapas, papakainin pa. Ngayon dito sa harvester, mabilis na ‘yong process. Ang isa pa sa maganda, ‘yong association ay nagkaroon ng pera for operation, nagkaroon ng projects kasi may pagkukunan. Sa expenses sa farm ay nakatipid at mas naging matatag ang association dahil may income,” Andres added.
This year, they will be cropping rice earlier in the month from March to April instead of May, and the palay selling price in the harvest season will not be lower than P17.00.