An officer from the Department of Agriculture (DA) challenges farmers to do their role for the country to achieve rice self-sufficiency.

“It is your decision to accept technologies offered to you,” DA’s Asec Edilberto M. de Luna said in a message during the Lakbay-Palay for farmers, Oct. 3, 2014.

This puts the biggest challenge on the farmers’ shoulders according to him.

“We are hoping that you will continue to help us encourage other farmers to use and share technologies that will help achieve [rice] self-sufficiency after 2015 and sustain it,” de Luna said.

In his speech, he expressed his gratitude to the “modern heroes” because of their “important contributions to agriculture”.

He explained DA’s Rice Program, which goal is to help implement projects for food self-sufficiency and continuous production of rice and other crops. This program aims to help achieve a stable local production, help increase farmers’ income by decreasing input cost and by diversifying crops they plant, and teach farmers to invest in things that will help increase and sustain rice production.

He presented how the program supports farmers, which includes informing farmers about high yielding varieties, lending fund, and giving high quality seeds to them.

“Decreasing the inputs to make farmers competitive is a big challenge for our scientists and researchers… I thank PhilRice for their continuous research and their help in spreading new and tested technologies,” de Luna said.

Farmer-partners were invited to the event to share how they were able to achieve a million in a year income.

“We have to be open to new technologies. If you diversify your crops and integrate animal husbandry in your farms…you are on your way to becoming a millionaire,” Bernardino Nuñez Sr of San Rafael, Bulacan said in Filipino.

Desiree Duran, an agripreneur from San Ildefonso, Bulacan, stressed the importance of knowing the market in farming. “We always have consumers because our product is food. However, we have to learn how to market our products,” she said in Filipino.

On the other hand, Engr. Nolito Vergara, Chairman of the Bagumbayan Primary Multipurpose Cooperative, shared the importance of being a member of a cooperative. “Most farmers cannot do things on their own and become a millionaire. They need the help of others to achieve this goal,” he said.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute