DA advocates use of rice alternatives PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 July 2013 13:34

The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office IX conducted a forum on Food Staples Suffiency Program (FSSP) Wednesday morning.

According to DA’s Regional Information Officer Maria Melba Wee, FSSP is part its Agrikulturang Pilipino (AgriPinoy) framework concerned with food security and self-sufficiency in rice and other staples.

FSSP also promotes the use of rice alternatives such as white corn, sweet potato, cassava, banana, taro, banana, and adlai, which will help to significantly lower the demand for rice in the country.

Various factors affect the country’s rice production such as destructive typhoons and conversion of agricultural lands.

Aside from encouraging the use of grains and root crops as alternatives to rice, the department also encourages Filipino households to reduce rice wastage. Even with the insufficient rice supply in the country, Wee laments, many Filipino households cook more rice than they can consume. This leads to rice wastage, where the unfinished rice are thrown away.

Because the country’s demand for rice far exceeds its rice production the country has been exporting rice from neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam.

According to Jess Basilio of the City Agriculture’s Office, Zamboanga City is only able to supply 25-30% of the city’s rice demand.

The Aquino administration has envisioned to improve the country’s rice production and reduce rice importation. In the past three years, DA has been able to reduce rice imports from 2.4 million metric tons in 2010 to 187,000 metric tons in the first quarter of 2013.

The FSSP forum was attended by city and municipal agriculturists, veterinarians and information officers in the region as well as media practitioners, all of whom were able to sample adlai grains for lunch along with other root crops and grains. — Sheila Covarrubias