• Bicol farmers to benefit from PhilRice station

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    LIGAO CITY, ALBAY: Rice production in the Bicol region is expected to increase following the inauguration of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) warehouse and seed processing facilities in Batang village.

    Albay Third District Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, who graced the Farmers Field Day celebration on Monday, said farmers can achieve high production and high income if they can learn modern technology from PhilRice.

    “We want our farmers to improve their rice production and income. This can be done if transfer of new technology from PhilRice will be passed on to the farmers,” said Gonzalez during the celebration carrying the theme “PhilRice Bicol: Satuyang Bag-ong Katabang sa Pag-abot Kan 1-Milyon Kita Kada Ektarya Kada Taon [PhilRice Bicol: Our new partner in achieving 1-Million income per hectare per year]”.

    He also told PhilRice scientists that the transfer of new technology to farmers through simple application and trainings in line with the challenging climate will surely improve rice production in the countryside.

    “Our objective is to improve the lives of our farmers considering that they’re the backbone of our economy. We need to help them through the assistance of PhilRice by transferring new technology to improve rice production thus send their children to school. Through new tools and innovations that will be introduced to our famers, it’s not impossible to attain our goal of being rice sufficient,” he explained.

    As co-chair of House committee on appropriation, Gonzalez said he will help PhilRice increase its budget to develop more technologies.

    The PhilRice-Bicol station will also serve the Visayas region.

    “We want rice farmers to earn from P50,000 to P60,000 in one hectare. But if the average family size is five then he needs at least P80,000 per year to meet all basic needs, food, shelter and send his children to school. This can be attained if our rice farmers will go on multi-cropping to generate additional income aside from rice,” said PhilRice executive director Eufemio Rasco Jr.

    PhilRice-Bicol is the eighth research stations in the country with 20 hectares of demo farmland for rice breeding center.

    Former Mayor Linda Gonzalez, who pushed the establishment of PhilRice station in Bicol, said that it took about eight years to conceptualize and materialize the project to help and boost farmer’s rice production.

    “PhilRice was conceptualized in Ligao in late 2007. We’re all purpose-driven and so I’m happy that this materialized though the smallest station in the country maybe but this will be the center of rice breeding center in Bicol,” she said.

    Mayor Patty Gonzalez-Alsua said the establishment of PhilRice-Bicol will address agriculture problem thus reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition by improving rice sufficiency.

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