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PNoy: People should join rice self-sufficiency drive

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija, Nov 13 (PIA) — President Benigno Aquino III urged Filipinos to do their share in the attainment of rice self-sufficiency by 2013.

“We declared 2013 as National Year of Rice (NYR) to speed up efforts on rice self-sufficiency in the country,” the Aquino said in Filipino, in a message read for him by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during the program launching. “However, any government proclamation will be useless without people’s participation in the program.”

Year 2013 was declared as NYR via Presidential Proclamation No.494 to enlist the support of farmers, consumers, and policy-makers in the country’s endeavor to become rice self-sufficient.

The observance, which is anchored on the theme “Sapat na Bigas, Kaya sa Pinas,” is meant to encourage farmers to adopt modern farm technologies while consumers are urged to reduce rice wastage.

Aquino was not able to grace the occasion due to inclement weather.

Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President was supposed to ride a chopper en route to PhilRice but made a last minute decision to cancel his trip as strongly advised by his security personnel.

“Whatever profession- be it a farmer from Cagayan, or a fisherfolk in Davao; a researcher from Nueva Ecija, or a businessman in Zamboanga- you can help; you can do something. We just have to imbibe and practice the spirit of bayanihan and we will not only achieve rice self-sufficiency but also attain our other aspirations: education, health, and justice; national pride; and development and peace,” Aquino said.

Aquino also lauded this year’s 25 National Gawad Saka honorees for inspiring their fellow countrymen and other sectors of Philippine agriculture.

Gawad Saka is given to farmers, fishers, livestock raisers and farmers’ and fisherfolk groups and organizations in recognition of their achievements as well as contributions to nation-building. Last year’s performance served as the basis in determining the winners.

The contest started at the municipal level where model farmers, fisherfolks, livestock raisers and farmers’ and fisherfolk groups and organizations were endorsed by their respective mayors to the provincial level competition.

Profiles of the provincial winners were then submitted to the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Units (DA-RFUs) for review and validation.

Regional honorees, who are automatically bets to the national Gawad Saka, were picked by a selection committee composed of various program coordinators and division chiefs of DA-RFUs along with representatives from the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council.

The event coincided with the 27th anniversary of Philippine Rice Research Institute. (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)

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