Thursday, March 31, 2011

There is enough rice by 2013-PhilRice

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, April 1, 2011-A former executive director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said that the country could hit its goal of producing enough rice with the innovations and initiatives on research, development, and extension (RD&E), which contribute 40 percent to rice self-sufficiency.

Ronilo A. Beronio said at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station that technology components and other social aspects are well-covered by the RD&E concerned and he is optimistic that the accomplishments in rice R&D during the past 25 years are now fruitful.

Beronio challenged the RD&E sector highlighting varieties, machines, and farming practices such as Palayamanan and PalayCheck that were developed, tested, and improved to suit farmers’ needs, the three-day event also produced outstanding studies in best paper and poster presentations.

Under the theme Strategies to mitigate impacts of and adapt to climate change, and other emerging problems besetting the rice industry PhilRice, Engineer Arnold S. Juliano’s paper, Development of a mobile ricehull gasifier engine-pump system, won the best paper award. 

To help farmers reduce production cost and minimize the environmental hazards of rice hull, the local gasifier system, which is compact, mobile, and affordable, was developed, where under the theme Socio-economics, impact assessment, policy, and market, Enhancing rice productivity and self-sufficiency in Romblon (Phase 1) of Leonardo A. Gonzales from STRIVE foundation, was adjudged best paper.

After project implementation, the farmer beneficiaries across the Location Specific Technology Development (LSTD) project sites in four municipalities illustrated marked improvements in terms of yield, efficiency in farm and wholesale level costs, net farm and wholesale incomes, food subsistence and poverty level carrying capacities, rice self-sufficiency, and global competitiveness.

A study using cellphone-based survey forms for PhilRice field data collection presented by Arturo C. Arocena Jr. from PhilRice, won the best paper award under the theme Technology promotion and delivery for narrowing the yield gap.

Arocena said that cellular phone-based survey forms can deliver structured datasets that can either replace or integrate with the existing paper-based process. 

DA-PhilRice is a government owned and controlled corporation that aims at developing high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. (Jason de Asis)

Agricultural sector to build capacity to address food crisis

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 1, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who is a former Agriculture secretary urged the government to build the agricultural sector the capacity to address the increasing needs of the country saying with all of these catastrophes and global problems, food prices in the Philippines will go up very soon.

Angara explained the interconnected factors contributing to the increase of food prices worldwide saying that normally steady agriculture sector in Russia, China, India and Australia have been negatively affected by flood, drought and fire as a result of climate change. 

“Last year the harvests in Europe, North and South America and in Asia saw record lows,” he said, adding that the conflict in the Middle East is boosting the price of gasoline, adding to the cost of food transportation.

Angara furthered that in the past few months, the price of vegetables and grains here in the country significantly rise up.

“The key to soften the local impact of the impending global food crisis is through innovations in the agriculture industry,” Angara pointed out, saying that it is important how we shape the industry to better suit our changing needs where knowledge and skills in agriculture are always needed.

Angara reiterated his call for the immediate actions from all the institution involve to reduce the full effect of global food crisis, saying that a better preparation and action should be conducted as early as possible to lessen the impact of it in the country. (Jason de Asis)

Revilla tasked PLDT's acquisition of Digitel

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 1, 2011-Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., chair of the senate committee on public service tasked the national telecommunications commission (NTC) to submit a report in the next two weeks on PLDT’s acquisition of third-ranked telecommunication digitel and prepare a study on the possible effects of PLDT's acquisition of Digitel on the local Telecommunications Market.

Revilla said that the NTC, which is the country's Telecoms regulator, is in the best position to assess the impact of this transaction on consumers and the public in general.

“While, a change of ownership of corporations is usually ordinary business, this is not the case here as Telecommunications is imbued with public interest, and we must ensure that public interest is upheld in this transaction,” he said.

Revilla added that another consideration must be given to the fact that if the acquisition pushes through, PLDT will undoubtedly be owning a great chunk of the Mobile Phone industry, being the owner of Piltel, Smart, Cure, and eventually Digitel, saying that in 1992 the PLDT held a monopoly on the country’s telecommunication where President Fidel Valdez Ramos deregulated the company.

To give the agency broader powers in overseeing the Telecoms Industry, the Senator said that the committee is now conducting Technical Working Group meetings on the reorganization of the NTC, saying that there are already proposals to empower the NTC to monitor pricing and competition, and another proposal to consider is to give NTC the mandate to overseer the acquisition of Telecom companies by other Telecom companies. (Jason de Asis)


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