May 18, 2024

As Pagasa confirmed an 80 percent probability of El Niño hitting the country this June to mid-2024, PhilRice is now crafting plans and guidelines to better help rice industry stakeholders prepare for its perceived impacts.

The El Niño task force of the Institute is recommending key adaptation mechanisms that farmers and localgovernment units can consider.

These include using drought/heat-tolerant and upland varieties, water-saving technologies, crop diversification, and off-farm practices like crop insurance.

“El Niño is not new, but it seems to be occurring more often. Through intensified communication campaigns and partnerships, we can better help the rice stakeholders, especially the farmers, identify and choose adaptation strategies that are better suited to their local context,” said Elmer Alosnos, task force member.

To help in the government’s implementation of a long-term solution to raise agricultural productivity, PhilRice launched its new vision, “Advanced science and technology for prosperous rice-farming communities toward sufficient and affordable rice for all.”

Detailed in the Institute’s new five-year strategic plan, the vision directs its banner programs from the commodity-focused to the people-centric outlook recognizing that the prosperity of farmers and their communities is key to having sufficient and affordable rice for the country.

“We cannot let the farmers poor so we can have cheap but low-quality rice, which consumers may not actually want. We must first lift our farmers and their communities out of poverty, so they become strong contributors to our society’s goals,” Dr. John C. de Leon, executive director, said.

With the new vision, rice farming technologies on increasing productivity and reducing production costs will be further advanced and that easy access on these will be guaranteed.

“We envision prosperous rice-farming communities that are organized and engaged in self-sustaining agroenterprises with profitable, demand-driven, and evolving business models,” he said.

As sufficient rice must also be affordable to consumers, PhilRice will also empower consumers with sustained access to and informed choices for safe, healthy, and affordable rice.

PhilRice will work with its stakeholders to ensure that the new vision is implemented in an inclusive manner that will benefit the rice value chain.

“We understand that affordable and sustainable rice production is not just about increasing yields, but also improving the lives of farmers and providing quality rice to the Filipino people,” de Leon said. – Press release