Gov't targets P1.3 trillion investment to boost rice output

Gov’t targets P1.3-trillion investment to boost rice output

MANILA  —The Philippines needs to invest at least P1.3 trillion over the next few years to boost rice production and cut agricultural waste, said the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Laurel Jr. said the bulk of the needed investment or P1.2 trillion would go to the irrigation of 1.2 million hectares of farm lands dedicated to rice, which is consumed by almost all Filipinos.

Some P90 billion, on the other hand, will be spent on the construction of integrated rice mill and warehouse complexes to maintain the quality of the rice and reduce losses.


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Laurel said a 15-percent reduction in waste due to improper handling and spoilage should save the country about P10.7 billion worth of rice, equivalent to an additional 23 days of rice inventory and 10 percent of rice imports based on the 2023 figures.

For this year alone, Laurel said P1 billion was earmarked to construct four cold storage facilities, mainly at the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) complex in Taguig City, designed to address oversupply and minimize postharvest losses, particularly from the spoilage of vegetables from Benguet.

Citing traders, the DA said as much as 30 percent of vegetables transported from the salad basket of Benguet to Metro Manila are spoiled during travel, with the loss eventually passed on to consumers.

These losses should be minimized with the construction of the 5,000-pallet position cold storage facility in FTI, according to the agency.

READ: P93 B post-harvest facilities needed to stop rice, corn wastage – DA

“If we try to solve the problem as soon as possible, assuming a target of 2025, I need an additional P5 billion to address the vegetable cold-storage issue of the whole nation,” Laurel told reporters in Malacañang after presenting his 3-year plan for agriculture to Cabinet members.


“We need really to fund these projects. But we must build bigger. We have three designs—small, medium and large, not mini,” Laurel said.

The DA chief pointed out the government has not funded the development of any major postharvest facility in the last 40 years and only small ones were built in tranches which he said are “actually irrelevant, useless. Sayang (What a waste of resources).”

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The three-year plan of the agency presented by Laurel would cover the expansion and improvement of available agrifishery areas for increased production as well as mechanization and modernization of production systems.

TAGS: Investment, rice production

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