Senator Cynthia Villar recently led the opening of a training course on rice farm mechanization and inbred and rice seeds production at the Villar SIPAG Farm School in Bacoor, Cavite.
Villar, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said training farmers on how to mechanize farming practices and to produce certified inbred seeds will address the need to lower the production cost of growing palay.
“Through this training program, we are preparing our farmers to switch to the modern way of farming and help them to be able to compete against imported rice which will start coming in as a result of the expiration of the Quantitative Restriction on Rice, prescribed by WTO [World Trade Organization],” Villar said.
The program was conducted for free in partnership with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the Philippine Center for Post-Harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), and the Agricultural Training Institute.
About 35 farmers from the Cordillera Autonomous Region and Regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are the participants in this nine-day training program. The first phase will be conducted from February 4 to 7 and the Second Phase will happen from Feb. 11 to 15.
After the program, participants are expected to acquire the knowledge that will help improve farm yield through mechanization and production of high quality inbred seeds.
“Once they graduate from the course, the participants are expected to also share their learnings in their respective communities and help us transform more farmers into seed growers engaged in seed production and trade,” Villar said.
Under the rice tariffication bill which pending President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature into law, among the programs that will be funded by the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund is the development, propagation and promotion of inbred rice seeds to farmers, as well as farm mechanization programs.
Along this line, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) partnered with PhilRice, PhilMech, and ATI to conduct the training course.