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May 2024

PH registers record-high rice production in 2023

(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Saturday that the Philippines produced a record-high 20 million metric tons (MT) of rice last year, which is 1.5 percent higher than the country’s rice production in the same period in 2022.

In his speech during the ceremonial palay harvesting and distribution of various assistance in Candaba, Pampanga, the rice production in 2023 registered a 1.5 percent or 300,000-MT increase from the 19.76 million MT of palay produced in 2022.

He said this came from the 0.23 percent increase in area harvested and 1.3 percent improvement in yield.

“Because of our joint hard work, we were able to record a production of more than 20 million metric tons of rice last 2023,” the President said.

Marcos said the record-high volume of rice production last year contributed to the overall value of production in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, which is recorded at P1.763 trillion in 2023, higher than the P1.757 trillion level in 2022.

He attributed the increase in last year’s rice production to the government’s efforts to provide and distribute high-quality seedlings and fertilizers to farmers.

The President led the ceremonial harvesting of palay in Barangay Mandili in Candaba, where he also distributed various assistance to farmers, including hauling trucks, seeds and financial assistance, among others, to more than 12,000 beneficiaries and 10 farmers’ cooperatives and associations.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), which the President previously held, also provided fertilizer discount vouchers worth P99.8 million in the province.

It also distributed P5 million in grants for working capital and hauling vehicles to 150 farmers and the construction of agricultural infrastructure.

But the President vowed to provide more government support programs for increased rice production in 2024.

He said the government was eyeing more solar-powered irrigation projects to provide water supply to about 180,000 hectares of agricultural land nationwide.

“The key is irrigation, so we are looking at the system that is being developed, and I think we will try solar-powered irrigation,” the President said.

“That is our plan to improve our situation in the agricultural sector. We will continue to strengthen and increase the assistance for the affected areas and citizens,” he added.

The President said using solar energy was economically viable and cost-effective as it would help farmers irrigate their lands free from the burden of spending money on expensive diesel pumps.

He said solar-power irrigation projects are seen as a solution to address the challenges hounding the agriculture sector, including the adverse impacts of typhoons and the El Niño phenomenon.

“We will install solar power to operate the pumps. We are looking at it; it will help immediately because we import maybe 3.5 million metric tons of rice every year,” Marcos said.

The DA National Program has allocated P31 billion for various projects, P17 billion for the Philippine Solar-Irrigation Project, and P1.2 billion for the construction and improvement of small-scale irrigation projects.

The agency also funded the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund with P10 billion. This will enhance the competitiveness of the rice industry through various interventions, such as rice seed development, provision of farm equipment and credit and extension services.

Marcos said the government was also focused on developing new varieties of palay that would be resilient amid the changing weather conditions in the country.

“Some of the steps we are currently undertaking is the development of seeds that can adapt to the changing climate, as well as the conduct of climate risk assessments for the affected communities,” Marcos said.

“You farmers can really feel what we call climate change, so we need to study carefully if there is a variety that could be used during the stormy season when the rain is too heavy,” he added.

No hungry Filipino

Meanwhile, Marcos promised no Filipino would be left hungry under his administration’s “Bagong Pilipinas” (New Philippines).

“Our cooperation to develop our agricultural sector is just one of the main steps towards building a New Philippines where no one goes hungry, and everyone works hard for a more prosperous future,” Marcos said.

To realize this vision and ensure sustainable harvest, Marcos assured farmers of government support in all of their endeavors, such as through distributing high-quality seeds.

He likewise commended the farmers for their hard work and dedication, which led to an increase in rice production in the Philippines in 2023. QR Code

Published Date: February 3, 2024

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