2023 June 2
MANILA – A lawmaker in the House of Representatives on Friday lauded President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s move to approve the Masagana Rice Industry Development Program (MRIDP) that will prioritize the welfare of farmers and increase rice production.
“Ang Masagana program ay patunay na prayoridad ng pamahalaan ang sektor ng mga magsasaka, kabilang dyan ang mga magsasaka ng palay (The Masagana program is concrete proof that the government prioritizes the agriculture sector, including rice farmers),” Quezon Representative Reynante Arrogancia said in a statement.
Arrogancia said the next step for the Department of Agriculture is to specify the details regarding the implementation of the program.
He particularly noted that the department needs to shed light on the initiatives that will help improve the lives of farmers, such as consolidation and mechanization.
“Kailangan nating malaman ang mga detalyeng ito alang-alang sa kapakanan ng lahat ng magsasaka, lalo pa ng mga magsasakang kababayan ko sa lalawigan ng Quezon (We need to know the details for the sake of all farmers, especially my constituents in Quezon province),” he said.
Arrogancia said he would support farm consolidation through cooperatives, while the mechanization aspect should be done in the form of subsidies to purchase small machines and not through loans.
He also suggested the provision of dryer machines and temperature-controlled storage through the shared services facilities of the Department of Trade and Industry.
“Ihahayag ko ang mga ideyang ito sa magiging pulong ko sa Department of Agriculture upang maging tugma ang implementasyon ng Masagana rice program sa pangangailangan ng mga magsasaka (I will share these ideas during my meeting with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that the implementation of the Masagana rice program will meet the needs of the farmers),” he said.
In a statement, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil noted that under the MRIDP, several strategies would be carried out to support rice farmers, increase rice production and strengthen the rice value chain.
“The program will be carried out through several strategies such as climate change adaptation; farm clustering and consolidation or convergence of intervention; value chain approach; and, digital transformation,” she said.
“A key component of the MRIDP is the convergence of all stakeholders involved in the development of the rice industry with the objective of pooling resources, sharing knowledge, and coordinating efforts to achieve sustainable rice production and higher income for rice farmers,” Garafil added.
Data from the DA showed a decline in the total palay (unhusked rice) harvest area and average palay yield in 2022.
The DA reported that around 75.6 percent or 14.94 million metric tons (MMT) of the 19.76 million metric tons of unhusked rice in 2022 came from irrigated areas, while the remaining 24.4 percent or 4.82 MMT were from non-irrigated areas.
The top five highest rice-producing regions in 2022 were Central Luzon (3.62 MMT), Cagayan Valley (2.93 MMT), Western Visayas (2.32 MMT), Ilocos Region (1.96 MMT) and Bicol Region (1.33 MMT).
Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)