The Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. and San Miguel Corporation recognized the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in the field of communication during the recent 2014 Binhi Awards at Diamond Hotel, Manila.
With The Manila Times and The Philippine Star in the lead, the Binhi Awards “honors the continuing efforts of print and broadcast journalists for their reportage on the major developments and issues in the country’s agriculture, fisheries, environment, food, and agribusiness sectors.”
The award-giving body, which has been conducting the competition since 1978, cited PhilRice as the Best Agricultural Information and Media Campaign for its lead role in the “National Year of Rice (NYR) 2013” and Best Agricultural Radio Program for the segments it aired on “Bagong Sigla sa Agrikultura.”
NYR 2013 is an advocacy campaign of the national government that aims to highlight the role of the farmers, public, and decision makers in in achieving rice self-sufficiency.
As part of the country`s Food Staples Sufficiency Program, NYR 2013 generally encourages the public to try other food staples such as camote and corn; eat brown rice; and value the hard work of the farmers. The implementers also reminded the public not to waste a single grain of rice.
Meanwhile, the winning segment featured the El Niño-ready varieties, reduced tillage, and integrated crop management that can help farmers cope with climate change.
During the awarding, Dr. William D. Dar, former secretary of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and identified pillars that will stir agricultural development, which include inclusiveness and a sector that is science-based, resilient, and market-oriented.
The concurrent director-general of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics said inclusiveness entails bringing the farmers to higher economic growth through cooperatives and associations.
Dar also said a greater technology transfer is needed to boost agricultural production and trade and for farmers to have access on science-based farming; encouraging farmers to use certified and hybrid rice seeds, and improve soil health.
Working in 55 countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, Dar called for a system that will provide ready stock of seeds to farmers during typhoons and other calamities.
“Climate change is here and we have to build up our capacities to cope with this,” he said.
He added that a will to transform agriculture as will help meet the challenge of producing 70% more food to feed 9.1 billion people worldwide by 2050.
“Sustainability must be a key value applied across all these pillars. We must not increase productivity if it is going to damage the environment. All advancements are a balancing act, but we must have the long-term vision in place and then nurture the progress every step of the way,” he said.