Piñol vows rice self-sufficiency to aid farmers vs climate change
Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol on Thursday said the Duterte administration would push for rice self-sufficiency and protect farmers from the ill-effects of climate change.
During the House of Representatives budget hearing on the proposed P50.6 billion budget of the DA and its attached agencies for 2017, Piñol said the country should not rely on importing rice from other countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
He said these countries also experience the effects of a changing climate and natural disasters.
“We can’t depend on imported rice because even Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos have their own shares of calamities,” Piñol said.
“It’s because of this that we should achieve food sufficiency, because we don’t know when the next El Niño would hit us or what countries would be affected by the El Niño,” he added.
Piñol said his department would focus on rice production anticipating the effects of a changing climate on agriculture in light of the El Niño phenomenon that heavily affected the farmers’ harvests.
“Why are we focusing on rice production? The El Niño has given us a lesson. Climate change has made everything unpredictable for agriculture,” he said.
The DA and its attached agencies have a proposed budget of P50.6 billion for 2017, down from the current budget of P53.97 billion. JE
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