Press Release
August 31, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to utilize science and technology (S&T) to boost the resiliency of the country's crops against storms and other natural disasters.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, made the statement in light of reports that Typhoon "Mina" (international name: Nanmadol) caused significant damage to the country's agricultural crops.

Reports from the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) show that losses in agricultural crops and equipment have already amounted to P1.108 billion.

"The problems we face with food security are only magnified by intensifying weather disturbances. We need to deploy the most advanced S&T as fast as we can to both reduce the risk of disasters and protect our major crops, such as rice," said Angara.

The former Secretary of Agriculture said that fostering more investment and collaboration with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhiRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will be crucial in making Philippine rice crops disaster-ready.

Angara noted that in 2009, the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) approved the first flood-tolerant rice variety for widespread use in the country.

The variety called Submarino I can survive even after 10 days of complete submergence in water. Under favorable conditions, it can yield as much as 4.5 metric tons (MT) of palay per hectare, higher than the national average of 3.8 MT per hectare.

First developed by IRRI, the variety was passed to PhilRice for initial testing before final approval for propagation from the NSIC. Seed production was slated to expand in the dry season of 2010.

"The experience with Submarino I is proof of how purposive investments in S&T can help solve national issues. It is imperative that similar initiatives are put in place for our other crops, as well as for our aquaculture," said the veteran lawmaker who authored such landmark laws as the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) and the Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).

Recently, Angara called on the national government to prioritize agricultural modernization in its 2012 budget.

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