THE year 2013 has been declared National Year of Rice, with the theme "Sapat na Bigas; Kaya sa Pinas!" through Proclamation 494, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on October 18, 2012, to focus on the need for a sustained campaign to attain rice self-sufficiency by 2013. The Department of Agriculture (DA) will lead the campaign with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
The Aquino Administration is projecting that the country would not only be rice self-sufficient next year, but could be a net rice exporter. The DA is working to achieve rice self-sufficiency before the end of 2013, by implementing a medium-term (2011-2016) agricultural and fishery sector mechanization and modernization.
The government is shifting from traditional to mechanized farming to boost agricultural productivity and keep pace with the farm input power of rice-producing Asian nations. Irrigation projects combined with better certified seeds promotion is helping raise the output of rice and other crops.
PhilRice research showed that Filipinos waste two tablespoons of cooked rice or nine grams of raw rice every day, which, if not wasted, could feed about two million poor Filipinos in a year. PhilRice, developing high-yielding rice and cost-reducing technologies for farmers, is optimistic that the Philippines could be self-sufficient by end 2013, due to increases in nationwide palay or unmilled rice production over the past 12 years.
We wish Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Philippine Rice Research Institute Executive Director Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., all the best and success in their forward-looking strategies and programs to sustain the growth of the rice sector and make it self-sufficient by 2013. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!