NIA Central Office, Quezon City
May 31, 2023

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., as concurrent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), emphasized the crucial need for consolidation as a step towards industrializing the country’s agriculture system during the Rice Industry Convergence Meeting held at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City.

Addressing various heads of agencies, NIA officials and regional managers, the Chief Executive emphasized the importance of considering the social aspect in the implementation of the ‘Masagana Rice Industry Development Program,’ which serves as DA’s roadmap towards achieving the country’s goal of 95% rice self-sufficiency.

“The value chain exists, it is just not functioning very well so that is essentially our job right now kasi magkakaroon talaga ng value chain. Nagkaroon na tayo niyan, ‘yun lamang hindi na-develop, hindi nag-evolve. Dahan-dahan napapabayaan ang agriculture, we got lazy, and complacent and got dependent on importation,” he said.

“Let us look on the other side, ano ‘yung hanapbuhay ng magsasaka, maganda ba ‘yung hanapbuhay nila kasi kung mahirap pa rin sila, gutom pa rin sila, what is the use in all of this? Kaya natin ginagawa ito hindi lamang para mapakain natin ang buong Pilipinas pero pagandahin natin ang buhay ng mga magsasaka,” he added.

The President also expressed optimism that the technological component of the project will attract younger individuals to venture into the agriculture sector and address the growing decline of farmers in the country, who have an average age of 56-57 years old.

“I think we made a good start here. Because when we first started wala tayong plano na ganito. We just do one thing and do another. Ngayon, may plano na tayo so sundan natin. It’s a good plan, it’s a good roadmap. Let’s follow it. There will be obstacles coming up but that’s what we are here for, is to solve those problems,” he concluded in his guidance message.