Press Release
February 24, 2010

With adequate support

With the country in the midst of El Niño, Senator Loren Legarda hailed rice farmers as "our true silent heroes" for upholding the agricultural sector with a projected rice production of 17.4 million metric tons despite the El Niño dry spell.

"The nation and our people owe them a lot. We should bestow on our outstanding farmers the highest possible awards and the highest possible recognition," said Loren who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture had said that no crop damage has been reported for Central Luzon, the country's rice bowl. Palay planted in the region would likely survive the current dry spell as there was enough irrigation water, and cloud seeding activities were in the works.

GMA Rice Program director Frisco M. Malabanan added that hybrid varieties would help prop up the country's rice output.

"We are targeting 250,000 to 275,000 hectares [to be planted to] hybrid rice this year and expecting a total production of 1.6 to 1.7 million metric tons," he said.

"Farmers and fisherfolk deserve due recognition for their invaluable contribution to nation building. Government must accord the highest priority to the development of agriculture and fishery not only to achieve an equitable distribution of benefits and opportunities but also to enable the farmers (crops, livestock and poultry) and fisherfolk to maximize their contribution to the nation's wealth," said Loren.

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