ARF, SEARCA lead forum for rice industry roadmap

  • 9 November 2018, Friday

Source: The Manila Times
9 Nov 2018

THE Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), under the Department of Agriculture (DA) has presented the National Rice, Industry Roadmap (NRIR) 2030, which was dissected during the Annual Rice Policy Forum recently convened by the Asia Rice Foundation (ARF) in partnership with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

The policy forum on October 30 critiqued the NRIR prepared by PhilRice through a series of multi-stakeholder consultations. SEARCA gave to forum participants copies of its publication titled "The Rice Economy and the Role of Policy in Southeast Asia" authored by Roehlano Briones of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, who also attended the event.

The roadmap targets a "rice-secure Philippines" by making rice available, affordable, accessible, safe and nutritious for Filipinos, and intends to achieve these through improved competitiveness, enhanced resiliency to disasters and climate risks, and assured safe and nutritious rice.

The roadmap is expected to improve the competitiveness, profitability, resiliency and responsiveness of the rice industry through import substitution at 35-percent tariff level for 25-percent broken rice; increasing income from rice farming by at least 50 percent; mitigation, adaptation and recovery from disasters and climate change; and catering to the needs of consumers for healthy food.

ARF said the roadmap has set a target "average yield of 6 tons per hectare [from the current 4.03 tons per hectare] at a production cost of P8 per kilogram of palay [unmilled rice] and a profit of P57,000 per hectare per cropping season."

ARF and SEARCA took into account the lifting of quantitative restrictions (QRs) on rice imports and the imposition of 35-percent tariff on imports from Southeast Asian countries and 50-percent tariff for imports outside the region.

"These issues on lifting of QRs and imposing tariffs on rice imports as well as strengthening support to domestic rice production at a competitive cost are important policy directions that should be critically analyzed to benefit Filipino farmers," ARF said.

According to ARF, the policy forum also aimed to outline a cohesive policy and mobilize broad support for the rice roadmap and its implementation.

The main discussants in the forum included Leocadio Sebastian who leads the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Regional Program for Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Southeast Asia; Segfredo Serrano, DA undersecretary for policy and planning; Cielito Habito, former socioeconomic planning secretary; Fermin Adriano of the World Bank; Lourdes Adriano of Asian Development Bank; Leonardo Gonzales of STRIVE Foundation; and Senen Reyes of the University of Asia-Pacific Food and Agribusiness Center.

Also attending were officials from the DA, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development under the Department of Science and Technology, SEARCA and co-sponsors of the forum, and technical and policy experts on rice.

ARF said it plans to publish a book on strengthening the Philippine rice industry from a policy perspective within the framework of ASEAN economic integration based on the proceedings of the forum.