The government and industry stakeholders have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on a program that encourages farmers to use inbred or hybrid seeds to increase their harvest and become competitive.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), SL Agritech Corporation (SLAC), and Go Negosyo recently forged the MOA on “Masaganang Ani 300” at the DA central office in Quezon City.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Masaganang Ani 300 is “a welcome initiative.”
“Our overarching goal is a food secured Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.”
“The DA would like to look at every opportunity to make the rice farmers productive, competitive and more prosperous. Our overarching goal is a food secured Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk,” Dar said.
Under the rice tariffication law (RTL), the agriculture chief said the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will continue for the next six years to finance components like mechanization, distribution for inbred seeds, skills development, and credit facilities.
“That is one of the verticals that we have at the DA,” the agriculture head said.
The other vertical is the hybrid rice program “and this is one opportunity that we offer to rice farmers to elevate their gain, elevate their productivity, and become more competitive… having more income that they can use for their basic necessities,” he noted.
“This is a welcome partnership to really promote the best technologies for the Filipino rice farmers. This is complementary to what has government institutionalized under the RTL,” Dar added.
For his part, SLAC chair and CEO Henry Lim Biong said the MOA signing for Masaganang Ani 300 “will alleviate the plight of the Filipino farmers”.
“We want our farmers to be resilient.”
“We want our farmers to be resilient. With the passage of the rice tariffication law and the Masaganang Ani 300, the farmers will be more progressive, switching to other varieties such as the hybrid rice so that they will be competitive to other ASEAN neighbors,” Biong noted.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, founder and chairman of Go Negosyo, said that under the MOA, the role of Go Negosyo is to help the Filipino farmers.
“We are already in the situation that import liberalization is allowed and we see the influx of rice. This will force the farmers to be more competitive,” Concepcion said.
“Kaya ngayon, kailangan ang tulong ng private sector (Now, the farmers need the help of the private sector), together with the government to bring about a massive mentorship program on how we can enable our farmers to improve productivity,” he added.
Concepcion said the Masaganang Ani 300 program will encourage farmers to look at new technologies in planting by using inbred or hybrid seeds.
“The productivity per hectarage has to improve, this will allow the farmers to be profitable. We are in the situation now and like any other business out there, we have to compete. But we have to enable now our farmers and mentor them, fund them, and provide them a market for their rice,” he added.
“Change has to happen. If we allow our farmers to continue to be unproductive, continue with their current tills in rice, we’re not helping the farmers. We’re actually giving them a dole out. So, this transformation has to happen,” Concepcion stressed.