Written by the Web Team
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J Alcala is optimistic that the country will soon achieve rice self-sufficiency, as he witnessed good harvests of palay (paddy rice) in the provinces of Isabela and North Cotabato.
Emphasizing that 2013 is officially the National Year of Rice, Alcala said the country’s farmers are now more inspired to produce more rice for the country’s food needs.
In his visit to Santiago City, Isabela for the recent Rice Grand Harvest Festival, Alcala emphasized the role of agricultural mechanization in the achievement of the said goal, and encouraged farmers to shift from traditional to mechanized farming.
“If all Filipino rice farmers will have access to modern farming machineries, combine harvester and the like, it will increase their productivity and they will be able to cater the growing demand for rice,” he added.
After his visit and interaction with farmers in Isabela, Alcala assured more than 1,500 farmers during the Grand Rice Harvest Festival at M`lang, North Cotabato that rice self-sufficiency will be achieved before the end of this year.
He made that bold statement after the bumper harvest in North Cotabato during the harvest festival. That province is the home of the country’s leading exporter of organic colored rice.
“Natutuwa ako dahil kitang-kita ko kung gaano kaganda ang inyong mga halaman at sa ipinakitang listahan sa akin kung paano po nagbago ang laki ng inyong harvest sa bawat taon. Ito po ay utang natin sa inyong mga sarili,” Alcala said.
He attributed the increase in yield of farmers in North Cotabato to the use of high quality seeds, the responsible use of irrigation water, and the utilization of farm machinery.
“Yun pong quality seeds, ay malaki po ang tinataas ng ating harvest. Sa ipinakita nyo pong average harvest, kayo po ay higit sa average harvest ng buong Pilipinas. Ibig sabihin po, ang mga magsasaka dito sa M`lang ay may espesyal na kagalingan at dumadating din dito ang tulong ng pamahalaan,” Alcala said.
He also acknowledged the role of irrigation to have a good harvest. He assured the farmers that the Department of Agriculture will continue to look address the issue of increased need for irrigation systems in the country.
“Ako po ay naniniwala na yung kakulangan sa irigasyon ay talagang patuloy natin itong tutulungan. Gusto ko rin pong ipaalala sa bawat isa, lalo na po dito sa M`lang na ang irigasyon ay hindi lang po para sa pagde-deliver ng tubig, pero ito po ay magagamit din natin sa pag di-drain o pagbabawas ng tubig sa ating taniman. Kaya importante po na tama ang pagpapatakbo sa ating patubig,” he said.
He also mentioned the big role of farm mechanization in increasing rice production, citing the use of combine harvester that speeds up harvesting, which is important especially when a storm is approaching.