GMA  CALLS  ON  FARMERS  TO  PLANT  MORE  RICE

MANILA, NOVEMBER 5, 2008 (STAR) With a promise of bigger government investments in agriculture, President Arroyo called on farmers yesterday to plant more rice to help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency in the next few years.

Mrs. Arroyo said her administration has put in place a multi-billion peso support program for agriculture called FIELDS to boost agricultural productivity as well as improve the condition of farmers.

FIELDS stands for fertilizer, irrigation and farm infrastructure, education and agricultural extension works, loans, dryers and other post-harvest facilities and seeds, particularly hybrid and certified seeds.

The National Food Authority (NFA) will also increase the volume of its rice purchase from local farmers from 100,000 metric tons last year to one million MT next year.

“The farmers are getting the investment they need. The government will continue its unprecedented support to agriculture via the FIELDS program,” the President said, adding that the NFA has already purchased 330,000 MT of rice this year.

“We hope that our farmers – since a lot of them are getting good prices from the NFA – would plant even more rice,” she added.

The President also expressed optimism that rice would continue to be affordable to consumers.

“Your government is doing everything in its power to put food on the table,” Mrs. Arroyo said.

She said workers are unlikely to demand higher wages if their families are well fed.

“That is why we are working hard to keep down the prices of rice, food and fuel and to increase the number of jobs,” she said.

“Our investments will continue to generate high-paying employment opportunities for more of our countrymen,” Mrs. Arroyo said. – Marvin Sy 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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