AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said we cannot beat Vietnam and Thailand in food production unless the government gives adequate support to the nation’s farmers.
“We cannot compete with Vietnam and Thailand in terms of production if the government does not give adequate support,” he added.
Piñol made his views known as he reveals that the country may now start raising organic chicken on a commercial scale, following the go signal for Philippine poultry exports from the government of South Korea.
The revelation came after Piñol met with South Korean Ambassador Kim Jae Shin.
“We can now sell our chicken products to them since the facilities of the San Miguel Corporation have already been approved and the Province of Maguindanao has started the “Halal” chicken production. The chicken can be raised, using commercial rearing facilities, but the feeds are totally organic,” he said.
The all-natural feeds will be formulated by an Islamic engineer, so the products comply with Halal standards,” he added.
During the meeting Piñol also thanked the South Korean government for providing market for other Philippine agricultural commodities such as bananas and pineapples, sourced primarily in Mindanao.
“Investments in Philippine agriculture is very important as it enables us to be competitive with other ASEAN countries. he explained.
The Agri chief told the Korean ambassador that with the help of technical personnel he is positive that the country will achieve self-sufficiency in rice in three years.
Just recently, Piñol visited IRRI in Los Baños, Laguna where the country’s top rice farmers, together with rice experts from PhilRice and IRRI, DA regional directors, and NIA directors, shared their best practices.
While the country’s average yield is 3.9 metric tons (MT) per hectare, the top farmers are able to harvest 8 to 15 MT.
“They have three things in common: good irrigation, the use of good (certified or hybrid) seeds, and sufficient fertilizer,” he said. |
“And so I told the President that given the necessary support such as good seeds, fertilizer and improved irrigation, the country can achieve rice self sufficiency by 2019,” he said.
“The country’s rice shortage right now is pegged at 1.8 million MT. If the average yield can increase by a ton per hectare per harvest, at four million hectares, the country would go beyond the deficit,” Piñol explained.
He added that the country’s agriculture sector is moving towards mechanization and will continue using the rice processing centers (RPCs).