Monday Feb, 24 2020 04:42:57 AM

MinDA urges farmers to grow organic black rice

AGRICULTURE • 07:00 AM Wed Jan 22, 2020
197
By: 
Manny Piñol
(Photos by Mayette Tudlas and MinDA Media Group.)

Targeting a lucrative market!

DAVAO CITY - As Mindanao starts the export of organic brown, red and black rice, I have been confronted by the question: "Why are you exporting when the rest of the country is importing rice?"

My answer is simple: Mindanao is not exporting a commodity which is Rice.

We are exporting a High Value Product which is organically grown brown, red and black rice for a niche market willing to pay a higher price for healthy food.

Organic Rice Farmers could earn more as the designated consolidator, Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative is buying newly-harvested organic black rice at P40 per kilo.

Those who produce organic rice during the 3-year transition period from commercial rice farming to real organic farming are assured of P20 per kilo.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has already organized the Mindanao Organic Rice Council (MORCO) which serves as the umbrella group for all organic rice farmers' cooperatives or associations.

The MORCO also includes producers of certified organic fertilizer and rice mill owners who will exclusively use their facilities for organic rice processing.

Our purpose here is to provide our rice farmers an option to earn more so that they will not abandon rice farming in the face of massive inflow of imported rice which brought the price of palay to historic lows.

We cannot allow a situation where farmers will abandon rice farming because there is no guarantee that the imports will keep on coming.

The countries producing the rice we import now are also vulnerable to climatic aberrations which could affect their production.

With many rice farmers abandoning rice farming because of very low farm gate prices as shown by government data now, the country would be faced with a rice crisis in the future if traditional rice exporting countries like Vietnam, Thailand, India and Pakistan would suffer reduced production because of calamities.

Besides, since all of these rice exporting nations also have growing populations, their export volume would certainly decrease in the years to come.

The MinDA Organic Rice Program is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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