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Marcos pushes for rice sector consolidation 

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday called for wider consolidation in the rice sector as he led the launch of a provincial program that seeks to mechanize and organize contiguous farming of the staple commodity.

Mr. Marcos Jr. said the Consolidated Rice Production and Mechanization Program, a project of South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo, Jr. would help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency, which he said is needed amid supply issues facing the countrys major sources of rice.   

He was addressing rice farmers from a pilot farm under the project, which seeks to bring together local rice growers to form consolidated areas of at least 1,000 hectares.  

Why is consolidation important? It’s very simple. The production cost here in the Philippines, which includes the labor such as harvesting and planting, is doubled compared to Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.   

How did that happen? The easy answer is mechanization,he added.  

And maximizing the use of machinery, he said, requires big farm areas. By using big machinery, production cost, and labor cost go down while the produce yield per hectare goes up.” 

Under the consolidation and mechanization program, the government would also set up a corporation to market the rice, dismantling the old model of middlemen getting more profit than farmers, he said.  

Mr. Marcos last month said the government will work towards achieving 97.5% rice self-sufficiency by 2028, a level which he described as adequate to meet the countrys needs.  

The new target reflects a drop from the Department of Agricultures (DA) former goal of 100% self-sufficiency by 2027.  

The DA, which Mr. Marcos also heads, said in April that it expects to achieve 100% self-sufficiency in rice by 2027 through the Masagana Rice Program 2023-2028.  

The program aims to stabilize rice supply at between 24.99 million metric tons (MT) and 26.86 million MT, and in the process lower the hike in prices to less than 1% annually. Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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