The government will spare no effort to ensure the growth of the rice industry while safeguarding the welfare of farmers and consumers, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday.

Addressing the 6th International Rice Congress in Pasay City, President Marcos said that the Philippines continues to strive for a comprehensive and holistic scientific approach in addressing rice issues. 

“We will spare no effort to ensure the growth of the rice industry here in our country even as we safeguard the welfare of farmers and consumers alike. We will do everything to pursue and punish those who are involved in smuggling and hoarding. We will make them pay for their wrongful actions and remedy the situation,” President Marcos said.

“We will remain steadfast in our efforts to modernize the agriculture sector through open dialogue and consultations with our farmers and agriculture experts,” he said.

In the same speech, the President urged both the public and private sectors to continue collaborating with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners as part of the unified efforts for a robust rice industry in the Philippines. 

President Marcos shared before the Rice Congress some of the government’s efforts to address the country’s issues on the price and supply of rice, which stemmed from several factors such as natural calamities and the illegal activities of rice smugglers and hoarders. 

“With all these said, it is important to remember that not one of us alone can do everything that needs to be done. We have seen through the years what greater power we yield when we are united—just like how the first five installments of this Congress have brought about great progress in the international rice industry,” President Marcos said. 

“So, I enjoin all of our government agencies and, of course, our partners in the private sector to continue collaborating with the IRRI and its partners in identifying creative solutions and mechanisms for a more robust rice industry,” he added. 

Amid all the issues, the President emphasized that the government has provided support to Filipino farmers through the National Rice Program and the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund, including the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance. 

The chief executive added that the government is also working closely with the IRR and other foreign government not only to ensure steady rice supply, but also to enhance the development and sharing of crucial technologies and strategies. 

“Your participation will surely inspire the rest of the society and the entire global community to fortify our efforts for food security across the region and the world. It goes without saying, but I think it bears repeating that rice in our country means more than food,” he added. 

President Marcos said he is looking forward to the transformation of the Philippine agricultural industry, particularly on the country’s rice production.
This year’s theme for the Rice Congress is “Accelerating Transformation of Rice-Based Food Systems: From Gene to Globe.” Its first edition was held in Beijing, China (2022); New Delhi, India (2006); Hanoi, Vietnam (2010); Bangkok, Thailand (2014); and Singapore (2018). | PND

(PNA photo by Rey Baniquet)