Senator Grace Poe today hailed the ingenuity of Filipino farmers behind the creation of the rice paddy art on a farm in Nueva Ecija which features the faces of two generations of Ang Probinsyano–her father, the late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr. and actor Coco Martin.
“Umaasa tayo na ang kahanga-hangang proyektong ito ay makakapagpalaganap ng interes sa pagsasaka, lalo na sa ating mga kabataan. Ipinapamalas nito ang ating kakayanang maging malikhain para higit na mabigyang pansin ang sektor ng agrikultura,” said Poe who visited the rice paddy art in Barangay Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz on Tuesday, April 25.
Photos of the FPJ rice paddy art went viral on social media, drawing tourists from all over the country. The rice paddy art is part of the Philippine Rice Research Institute’s (PhilRice) FutureRice project which showcases modern technologies to help prepare rice farmers to cope with climate change and environmental degradation.
PhilRice used the purple rice variety for the faces of featured artists, providing a visual contrast to the regular green-leafed variety in producing the art.
“Nakakataba ng puso ang pagtatampok sa aking ama sa napakagandang proyektong ito. Malapit sa puso ni FPJ ang ating maliliit na kababayan, lalo na ang mga magsasaka na naging bahagi rin ng kanyang mga pelikula,” Poe said. She also hoped that the continuing research and training at PhilRice could help bolster rice production and bring food security in the country.
“Inaasahan natin na mabibigyan ng sapat na suporta ng gobyerno ang ating mga magsasaka upang mas maging produktibo sila at mapababa pa ang halaga ng produksyon ng bigas para na rin mas makinabang ang mga mahihirap. Ang bigas ang isa sa pinakamalaking pinaglalaanan ng budget ng isang pamilya,” Poe said as she met with PhilRice researchers and workers involved in the planting of the FPJ rice paddy art.
The government needs to raise the productivity of our best rice lands to get close to, if not match, production costs in our rice exporting neighbors. The government, now more than ever, should provide full support to our farmers especially those who are situated in our rice-growing provinces, explained Poe.
The cost of palay production is higher in the country, at P14 per kilogram, compared with neighboring countries like Vietnam (P6-P7) and Thailand (P8).
Poe toured the PhilRice laboratories which house the genebank, molecular laboratory, rice chemistry and food science. The five-hectare farm also showcases clean energy facilities, drone technology, advanced farm machines, and an experimental field that demonstrates hybrid, inbred, and traditional rice varieties. The FPJ rice paddy is available for viewing until May 14.