Launching of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program

Feb 19, 2019 | Villar Sipag Farm School, Bacoor, Cavite

Isang napakagandang umaga po sa ating lahat!
It is with great pleasure and privilege to be here in the launching of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program.
I am glad to meet everyone working in the agricultural sector, particularly those from the rice industry. With rice as our staple grain, we cannot deny the contribution of the rice industry to the country’s growing economy. 
As such, TESDA has implemented Programs in Accelerating Farm School Establishment or PAFSE to encourage our farmers to establish farm field schools to increase productivity and become agro-entrepreneurs. Through our scholarship programs, we have established farm field schools in all provinces and will continue to do so targeting the municipalities nationwide. This, with the aim of uplifting the quality of life of our farmers.
There has been a strong clamor to pay special attention to agriculture because of the low agricultural productivity and low agricultural growth.  According to Sec. Benjamin Diokno of the DBM, the share of agriculture in the country’s economy is only 0.1 percentage point to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2018.
It is for this reason that the government is prioritizing the agriculture-fishery sector to lessen farming cost and increase productivity.  Through this, higher incomes are expected.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently signed the Rice Tariffication Act.  This shows that the President looks after the welfare of the rice farmers. 
Indeed, it is only timely to launch and plan the immediate next steps in order for our farmers to reap the benefits as provided by the said law. 
I truly appreciate that the framers of the law including Sen. Cynthia Villar who is with us today, have taken into consideration the roles and contributions of TESDA as a relevant agency in its implementation.
[TESDA’s role in the implementation of the law]
• Under section 13 of the law, on enhancing rice productivity, under the rice extension services, TESDA is allocated P700million to provide services for teaching skills on rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization and knowledge/technology transfer through farm schools nationwide. 
Immediately, I have instructed concerned TESDA officers to craft appropriate programs to effectively carry out our tasks. We have lined-up packages of programs for this in addition to our existing “PAFSE” or Program on Accelerating Farm School Establishment which is currently assisting small farmers.
We are now introducing the “PIRProM” or the Program to Increase Rice Productivity and Mechanization focusing on rice productivity and mechanization. This program aims to enhance our farmers’ competitive capability not only in terms of improving their yield output, but also to improve the quality of their produce.
At the onset, TESDA has developed training regulations with the technical support of several partner agencies which can be applied to increase rice productivity such as:
1. Agricultural Crop Production NCII
2. Grains Production NCII
3. Agricultural Machinery Operation NCII
4. Drying and Milling Plant Servicing NC III
5. Agricultural Machinery Servicing NCIII
6. Pressurized Irrigation System Installation and Maintenance NCII
7. Small Engine Repair NC II
8. Biogas Plant Installation NCIII
Further, in cooperation with DAR through a MOA, TESDA has also developed the Training Regulations (TRs) on Agro-entrepreneurship NCII, III and IV. These were developed to standardize and improve the system of implementation of agro-entrepreneurial skills and develop programs geared towards achieving agricultural development and sustainable agro-enterprise in the country. Farmers can be trained and be certified in these programs. 
Likewise, TESDA has also developed training regulations related to agri mechanization to manufacture farm implements such as welding, machining, and construction related training regulations to construct irrigation system such as masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical installation, that will raise agricultural output. 
This also ensured the protection of the health and safety of the workers as well as improve the practice of environmental management and sustainability.
Ultimately this is TESDA's response to the vision of the President for the people, and I quote –“to provide available and affordable food for my people".
I assure everyone especially the agri-sector that TESDA will continue to develop programs that will include the youth, the next generation farmers, to teach them emerging and innovative technologies and the internet of things (IOT) for smart farming such as use of moisture sensors, smart irrigation, terrain contour mapping and, improved information capturing among others.
Patuloy ang TESDA na magbibigay ng tulong sa inyo hanggang makamit natin ang mithiin ng programang ito dahil sa TESDA Abot Lahat. 
Maraming salamat po at mabuhay ang ating mga magsasaka!

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