National Rice Board formed to ensure self-sufficiency


Jennifer A. Ng

Business Mirror

5 Dec. 2010


MAJOR stakeholders in the rice sector, including local agriculture
officers and the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Councils under the
Department of Agriculture (DA) formed an advisory board that seeks to
ensure that the Philippines will be able to achieve its rice
self-sufficiency target.

Dubbed as the National Rice Board (NRB), it also consists of leaders
of national associations of farmers, seed growers and rice traders.

Agriculture assistant secretary Dennis B. Araullo, who also heads the
national rice and corn program, swore in the members of the NRB which
include Jaime Tadeo of the National Rice Farmers Council, Trinidad
Domingo of Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan, Henry Lim
of National Seed Network, Herculano Co of Philcongrains, Jessica
Reyes-Cantos of Rice Watch and Action Network (R1), Jesusa Noveda of
the League of Devolved Agriculture Personnel and a representative of
the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

“We hope the board will contribute to improve transparency in the
Department of Agriculture, especially in its rice program as we
continue to lag behind our neighbors while our own rice farmers
struggle to lift their families out of poverty,” said Tadeo.

Lim of the Davao Oriental Seed Cooperative believes that the
convergence will bring to fore the real problems of the stakeholders
including those of the seed industry and raise their level of
participation in policy and program formulation.

Araullo said the creation of the NRB is “long overdue” because the
corn sector has long established the National Corn Competitiveness
Board that engages the DA on the corn program directions.

Co expressed willingness to be part of the NRB in order to promote
greater coordination among stakeholders. “Hopefully, this will be the
start of a partnership in order to truly see a rice-sufficient

The NRB was tasked to review and consolidate the stakeholders’
strategy proposals for rice sufficiency and serve as a watchdog of the
DA’s rice-related program implementation.

“The DA has been hounded with so many issues, among them [such as]
corruption in project implementation and the appropriateness of its
programs at the ground level. We believe this cooperation will help
define the right priorities of DA programs and plug the holes of
government funds delivery and misuse,” said Cantos, lead convener of
Rice Watch and Action Network that initiated the formation of the NRB.

Under the Rice Self Sufficiency Plan (RSSP) 2011-2016, the DA
estimated that it would need some P124 billion requirement to bankroll
the rice self-sufficiency initiative. Of the amount, 65 percent will
go to expanding irrigated rice lands.

The estimated amount required for the RSSP also takes into account the
government’s counterpart funds for foreign-assisted irrigation
“Rice self sufficiency will be attained by 2013 at the earliest and
2015 at the latest,” according to the RSSP.

On average, the RSSP indicated that palay production will grow by 7.6
percent per year, from 16.2 million metric tons (MMT) in 2010 to 25.3
MMT in 2016.







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