DA targets reduction in rice production losses
by Prix D Banzon
Davao City (19 July) -- The government will make steps to bring down current loses incurred in the rice production from 15 percent to seven percent.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap stressed during the 5th National Grains Production Conference held in Davao City that 70 percent of the 15 percent losses ocurs during postproduction.
He said this happened during drying, storage and milling processes.
Yap said while they had addressed the concerns for production facilities, projects and programs for post harvest is also being done together with marketing.
Yap was in Davao City as keynote speaker during the conference held July 18 to 19 at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.
The conference spearheaded by the Philippine Rice Postproduction Consortium (PRPC). The PRPC is an alliance of primary research development and extension institutions that seek to provide solutions for the sustainable development of the grain postharvest industry of the country.
It was established in 1999 with BPRE, NFA, PhilRice, UPLB and IRRI as member agencies under EO 309 issued by President Arroyo.
Yap said the 15 percent losses is already equivalent to 800,000 metric tons of rice, which is good enough to support the import requirement of rice of 1.5 million metric tons.
He however said that with some gains in rice production the importation of rice has gone down.
National Food Authority Administrator Engr. Jessup P. Navarro said that their projection for rice importation gone down to 1.61 million metric tons compared to last year's 1.65 million metric tons.
Yap said the P2 billion post harvest production program would include among others acquisition of flatbed dryers that will be installed near production sites accessible to farmers.
Also given focus is the irrigation program where 55,000 hectares of irrigated rice farms are due for rehabilitation this year.
He said they will increase the figure in 2008 to 75,000 to 80,000 hectares. (PIA XI) [top]