Written by the Web Team
An official of the Department of Agriculture is confident that farmers can profit P1 million per hectare a year by optimizing their time and using alternative energy resources.
Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, executive director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said that out of 365 days in a year, Filipino farmers work for about 110-220 days in growing rice, leaving a “free time” of 145 days.
“If the farmer uses the by-products of rice production such as rice hull and rice straw for producing mushrooms, fertilizer, feeds, and energy, among others, then a P1 million income is not impossible. Compare that with the estimated P50,000 per year net profit that a typical farmer typically earns, much below the poverty level,” he said.
Addressing the awardees during PhilRice 28th anniversary on Nov 6, Rasco said that rice researchers and development workers must provide the technology and support for farmers to gain the million profit.
“Let us inspire our farmers to dream big, teach [them] well, and continue learning ourselves so that we can be better teachers. The first lesson that we can give to the farmer is simple: P1 million is possible,” the plant breeder and academician said.
In helping farmers cut on energy cost, PhilRice recently launched the Farming without fossil fuel program, which aims to develop alternative and renewable energy sources and inputs for rice and rice-based farming applications.
Rasco, now on his second year as executive director, further said that a knowledge-based technology and policy interventions will prepare farmers for the free trade in 2015. Under a free trade system, flow of goods including rice, services, investment, capital, and skilled labor among the countries that form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be marketed to the county.
Saying that PhilRice policy study is on track, Rasco mentioned the Institute’s socio-economic division is conducting benchmark studies in rice exporting countries in Asia to identify what makes them competitive in the market.
“If we play our cards right, 2015 will open up opportunities because it means that our market for agricultural and other products will expand to more than 1 billion people instead of only 99 million. If we are ready, we should not be afraid of 2015,” he said.