The rice-based farming framework promoted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute. Source: RTM/PhilRice
Rice-based farming will increase farmers’ income and consumers will have healthier options according to Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., of the National Academy for Science and Technology (NAST) and a former executive director of PhilRice.
The said approach requires diversification, integration, and intensification of farming practices.
“Instead of rice mono-cropping, farmers should also grow other crops, and livestock alongside rice. With the use of existing models like vermiculture, mushroom production, mungbean, corn, garlic, duck, and fish that can be grown and maintained alongside with rice, farmers will have reduced dependence on rice as the main source of income,” said Rasco during a seminar at PhilRice, 13 January.
Rasco highlighted the significance of Palayamanayon, a PhilRice advocacy that aims to transform a community of farmers into agri-preneurs. Its scope is not limited to crops and livestock but also covers fishes and vermiculture. Its scale is not just for household food security but also covers the national food security as well.
In Palayamanayon, everything a farmer places in his farm serves a purpose. With rice as the main crop, vegetables and livestock are also integrated to optimize the overall farm system. Ducks and fish may be integrated for pest control and added income; or azolla may be planted as source of organic inputs. Nothing is wasted in the close-loop method.
With rice-based farming, consumers may also try other staples. Kamote, cassava, white corn, brown rice, and parboiled rice are among them. Raco also emphasized the consumption of brown rice in-line with the Brown4Good campaign of the Institute. It is also rich with dietary fibers, magnesium, selenium and other vitamins that help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
PhilRice has new deputies
Dr. Calixto M. Protacio, executive director of PhilRice, designated three acting deputy executive directors (DED), effective January to December 2016.
Roger F. Barroga has been designated as acting DED for administration. Drs. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang and Flordeliza H. Bordey have been designated as acting deputies for research and for development, respectively.
Barroga currently leads FutureRice, a program that explores ways to increase current rice output using 21st century and practical cutting edge technologies. He was the former director of the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OpAPA), a consortium of agriculture stakeholders that enabled the Philippine agriculture benefit from modernized ICT. OpAPA was the recipient of the 2010 International Prize for Pioneering Human Development Projects awarded by the the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND).
Barroga holds Master’s degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Quilang was PhilRice’s DED for Development from 2011to 2015. Under his watch, several campaigns and special projects were launched such as the Palayabangan: The 10-5 Challenge,
PalaYamaNayon: The Rural Transformation Movement, Be Riceponsible Campaign, Gusto Namin Milyonaryo Kayo Campaign, Best Station Contest, and Rice Science Museum.
The new DED for Research holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences specializing in Bioproduction Environmental Science from Kyushu University in Japan under the Monbukagakusho Scholarship.
Meanwhile, Bordey, an economist, was former head of PhilRice’s Socioeconomics Division. She leads the DA-FSSP-funded project titled Benchmarking the Philippine Rice Economy Relative to Major Rice-Producing Countries in Asia. In 2010, she was the program lead of the Impact evaluation, policy research and advocacy program of the Institute.
She obtained her PhD in Agricultural Economics at the University of Illinois in 2010 under the Fulbright – Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program.
Bordey has been with PhilRice for more than 15 years and published papers on food policy, trade liberalization, production economics, impact assessment, and climate change.
The new DEDs are expected to oversee the preparation and implementation of various transdisciplinary R&D programs of the Institute.