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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) backs up the call of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III to work together for the country to end rice importation and aim for exportation.

Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., PhilRice executive director, said the National Year of Rice is an opportunity for Filipinos to support the government`s commitment to set the record for rice self-sufficiency next year.

“We give everything in 2013 to make the government`s vision a reality,” he urged the thousand attendees during the recent 27th PhilRice anniversary in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

To help the government provide enough food for the Filipinos, PhilRice, according to Rasco, had bred better seeds and developed cost- and waste-reducing technologies and practices.

PhilRice, he said, had supplied farmers with modern inbred and hybrid varieties with higher and more stable yields; generated technologies and recommended practices on fertilizer, water and pest management; and developed machines that will make farming more enjoyable and efficient.

“We are also concerned about the long-term viability of rice farming. Thus, we are developing an energy system for rice that will reduce energy use and allow farmers to utilize the energy in the by-products of rice production, mainly rice straw and rice hull,” he said.

Recently, PhilRice launched its Rice Energy Program to make local rice production sustainable through renewable, decentralized, and diversified energy source.

“We see rice farming not only as a source of nourishment, but also a user and producer of power to produce heat, mechanical energy, and electricity. When we import rice, we lose the supply of by-products of rice farming. We also deprive our rice farmers of their market, and we risk hunger if the supply chain of imported rice is somehow disrupted by poor weather, government policy, or even international conflicts,” he explained.

Rasco also said PhilRice is creating the future for rice farming that is “knowledge-intensive, labor-saving, and utilizes cutting-edge technologies in biology, computers, and remote sensing.”

He said that PhilRice also promotes corn, banana, camote, and cassava as other sources of carbohydrates. A diversified source of energy, he said, is a healthier option.

“Our commitment is not only to the rice industry, but also to the Filipino consumers,” he added.

The President has declared 2013 as National Year of Rice through Proclamation No. 494 signed Oct. 18 to enlist the help of producers, consumers, and policymakers in achieving the rice self-sufficiency goal.

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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