MinDA pushes for organic rice, aldai farming
In a bid to empower local farmers against the effect of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) collaborated with private groups to put together a one-day forum on organic and premium rice and Adlai farming at the Grand Regal Hotel here on Friday, Sept. 20.
This forum will mark as a shift in the direction of rice farming which will provide Mindanao local farmers a new clientele since the market has already been saturated by imported ordinary rice resulting in very low farmgate prices.
“Looking beyond Rice Liberalization: Growing and Marketing of Premium, Organic Rice and Adlai” gathers farmers’ groups, private companies, a local government unit and the regional offices of the Department of Agriculture which promotes Adlai Farming.
Adlai or Job’s Tears is a wild grass with round grains which tribal people grow and consume as staple food. Interest in the Adlai has grown over the years because of its reputed health benefits.
During the forum Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative which pioneered the export of organic black and brown rice will make a presentation on organic rice farming and the different black and brown rice varieties. Former Congressman Eric Acuña will lecture on the benefits of organic fertilizer called AMO which many farmers have used with positive results. Seedworks Philippines will introduce two hybrid rice varieties which could be grown organically with outstanding eating quality – Tatag TH 82 and US 88. Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Palma, known for his advocacy on organic rice farming, will share his province’s successful organic rice farming program. At lunch, participants will be served premium and organic rice varieties including Adlai.
The shift to premium and organic rice farming in Mindanao is expected to open a niche market for Rice farmers affected by the rice liberalization. There’s plenty of room for shifters since Don Bosco earlier reported that they could not produce enough volume for the local market.
Prospective premium and organic rice importers from Papua New Guinea, led by Central Province Governor Robert Agarobe, and the United States of America are expected to attend the forum.