27 May Changing the national agriculture policy toward native rice varieties
On May 28, 2009, the Honorable Arthur C. Yap, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, will meet with approximately 100 farmers involved in the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project. The “Highland Rice Terraces Farmers Forum” will take place at the Mount Data Lodge, Bauko, Mt. Province.
The forum’s opening remarks will be given the Honorable Maximo Dalog, Governor, Mt. Province; Engr Abraham Akilit, Regional Manager, National Irrigation Administration (NIA-CAR); and Cesar D. Rodriguez, Regional Executive Director, Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR).
In the morning workshop, farmer representatives from across the Cordillera will consider the issues and problems related to developing their native rice as a high-value crop. During the dialogue session, Secretary Yap will receive a briefing on Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project from RICE, Inc.’s Executive Director Vicky Garcia. Farmer representatives will then outline their issues relating to the native rice which could be addressed with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture.
Through the persistent advocacy of RICE, Inc., and the resolute determination of the terraces farmers, the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project has demonstrated that native rice can be a cash crop that should be supported, not replaced. These efforts have helped change the the national and regional agriculture policy toward native rice varieties. The Department of Agriculture should be commended for now including traditional rice varieties in their new rice initiatives.