Press Release
September 5, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara expressed support for the initiatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to obtain rice self-sufficiency in 2013, but noted that this can only be achieved if more funds will be poured into agricultural infrastructure, farming technology and agricultural R&D.

Angara, a former Agriculture Secretary, noted that as much as 1 million metric tons of rice are lost every year due to inefficient post-harvest facilities.

"Plugging these huge post-harvest losses in the grains sector, even just halving it, would dramatically reduce our import dependency," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Philippines imported around 1.8 million tons of rice in 2008. In a report, IRRI cited limited land area for immediate rice cultivation, continuous population growth, and lack of appropriate infrastructure as the main reasons for the country's massive importation.

Similarly, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently said that the Philippines will unlikely meet its target of rice self-sufficiency by 2013 due to poor farming infrastructure and high production costs.

Angara emphasized, "We also need to look into increasing our productivity. For example, more investments in irrigation are needed, such as in the rehabilitation of old facilities, the construction of new systems and the provision of small farm reservoirs. We will also need to conduct R&D into cultivating disaster-ready strains of rice and roll out the world's advanced technologies wherever appropriate."

In 2010, the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which is chaired by Angara, identified remote sensing for agriculture as a priority project for 2011.

"Technologies in satellite imaging and aerial photography can be used to gather data on our rice lands. If we deploy high-speed ICT systems throughout our rice-producing regions, our farmers and agribusinesses can get real-time information about harvest, soil and weather conditions. This will enhance their capacity to make important decisions quicker, as well as boost their capacity for precision farming," said Angara.

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