The Department of Agriculture – National Rice Program (DA – NRP) conducted a Cluster-Wide Meeting and Consultation on Rice Industry Development in the regions of I, II, III and CAR on March 27-29, 2023 at The Monarch Hotel, Calasiao, Pangasinan.

“Let’s focus on outcomes, not just outputs.” said Dr. Leocadio S. Sebastian, Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development, as he discussed the Masagana Rice Program and highlighted the Four Key Strategies: (1) Climate Change Adaptation; (2) Cluster our Farmers; (3) Value Chain Approach; and (4) Digital Transformation.

Rice related national program activities were also discussed such as the Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) program, Suitability and Fertility status of Rice Areas in Luzon Regions, and the Location – Specific Cropping Pattern and Calendar both discussed by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management.

Meanwhile, Ms. Analiza Ramos, DA – RFO1’s Field Operations Division Chief, presented the Ilocos Region’s production performance, targets for the 2023 wet and dry season, Palay farming prices, preparations for the wet cropping season, best practices, and key strategies for increasing rice production in the region.

One concern in the region is that half of the area of Ilocos Region are rain fed and harvesting season always coincides with typhoons. “This is also a contributor aside from the lack of technology and other interventions if not all areas will be rain fed.” Ramos said.

As a result, the panels concluded that collaborating closely with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is the best approach.

The event was also attended by the National Rice Program Consultants, Regional Directors from CAR, Regions I, II, and III as well as representatives from various agencies, Provincial local government units, and other private sectors involved in the Rice Industry. The purpose of the cluster-wide meeting and consultation is to discuss the situation, issues, and strategies for achieving the goal of increasing productivity and farmer income in the Philippines, particularly in the rice industry.