Written by the Web Team
Officials in the rice sector stressed the need for farmers’ education in attaining rice self-sufficiency during the Farmers’ Field Day and Forum conducted at the Central Experiment Station of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Sept. 20.
Director Dante de Lima, national coordinator for rice and corn, said that volunteer technicians or farmers from local communities will be formed across the country to educate farmers in filling the 15-18 percent insufficiency gap in rice.
“We’re 82-85 percent rice self-sufficient, and [by training technicians or farmers based in their own communities will help increase rice production. These trained volunteers are from their areas, so they would know how to talk to the local people and would be very familiar with the locality],” de Lima said in Filipino.
De Lima also announced the Land Bank of the Philippines’ loan program called Magsasakang Pinoy’s Savings and Credit Card, which was created to help farmers obtain financial aid with low interest rates.
Meanwhile, PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr said education is important in making farmers more receptive to new technologies. Rasco, who took office on July 13, said knowledge on the aspects in rice production such as new seeds and right application of fertilizers guide farmers in increasing their yield.
“The bottom line in addressing farmers’ problems is education. Here at PhilRice, we produce training materials and [promote the technologies and varieties we developed through strategic ways such as Farmers’ Field Day and Forum],” Rasco said.
Farmers’ Field Day and Forum, a bi-annual event of PhilRice, was participated by about 2,000 Filipino farmers, Korean collaborators, and African trainees.
Korea, a first class agro-industrialized economy that averages 7.3 t/ha in rice yield, is sharing its technologies through the Korean Project for International Agriculture Center (KOPIA) to assist the Philippines become rice self-sufficient by 2013.
Since June, 25 extension workers from Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya are learning the PalayCheck System – an integrated crop management system, at PhilRice to increase rice production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Five Filipinos from the local government units of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, and Isabela are also participants in the 16-week rice training program.