The first National Rice Industry Stakeholders’ Conference in Iloilo City is seeking to address the concerns in the industry, Negros Occidental Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said yesterday.
The conference, on the theme “Empowering Rice Farmers Organizations Anchored on Value Chain Systems”, was initiated by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries.
The two-day activity that concluded yesterday was attended by more than 750 industry stakeholders from the country.
Masculino said the conference also held workshops to address the problems in the rice industry, such as mechanization, distribution of seeds, extension services, and truthful labelling.
During the workshop, he said, it was recommended that the local government units should pass an ordinance that they will handle the regulatory functions of the National Food Authority.
Right now, there is no regulation on the national standard for grains after that function was stripped from the NFA, he added.
It was also emphasized that extension services should be led by the provincial government, he said, adding that the province should integrate the extension system, and that there should be collaboration with the state universities and colleges - they have to align their researches to the priority programs of the provincial government.
The importance of mechanization was also underscored during the conference, Masculino said.
“We have to level up our mechanization program, as well as the training of farmers in financial literacy and maintenance of the equipment,” he added.
Andrew Villacorta, Agriculture assistant secretary for operations, said the national agency aims to further improve the implementation of different initiatives and projects under the rice program.
He said he hopes the output of the conference will find appropriate technologies that would contribute in achieving its twin objectives, productive production and profit.*
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