DA seeks im­proved rice qual­ity to ad­dress shift­ing pref­er­ences

Business World - - Economy - Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

THE De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) said it hopes to im­prove the qual­ity of do­mes­tic rice due to shift­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences, and to bet­ter align farm­ers’ pro­duc­tion with mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We need to adapt to the changes brought about by the Repub­lic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tar­if­fi­ca­tion Law, one of which is con­sumers’ pref­er­ence for qual­ity rice. This is now an in­te­gral part of the over­all trans­for­ma­tion of the coun­try’s rice in­dus­try,” Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Wil­liam D. Dar said in a state­ment af­ter con­sult­ing with farm­ers, millers, and traders.

Mr. Dar said traders and millers re­ported that many farm­ers pro­duce low-qual­ity palay which when milled pro­duces rice that is eas­ily bro­ken and with a chalky con­sis­tency.

“For the suc­ceed­ing crop­ping sea­sons, we are not just af­ter at­tain­ing pro­duc­tion tar­gets, but also pro­duc­ing qual­ity rice for Filipino con­sumers that will pro­vide higher in­come for farm­ers,” Mr. Dar said.

Ac­cord­ing to rice millers and traders, con­sumers want rice va­ri­eties that are long-grain and tastes and smell good when cooked. The mar­ket is de­mand­ing so-called four-M rice. The four Ms stand for ma­g­a­nda, mura, ma­bango, at malam­bot (at­trac­tive, cheap, fra­grant, and soft).

The DA said that in an in­for­mal sur­vey, con­sumers who said they pre­fer rice with those at­tributes ac­counted for 40% of the mar­ket.

Rice millers and traders urged Mr. Dar to plant va­ri­eties that hold up to the milling process and pos­sess good eat­ing qual­i­ties.

They also of­fered as­sis­tance to the Philip­pine Rice Re­search In­sti­tute in pro­mot­ing rec­om­mended rice va­ri­eties to be used by farm­ers in fu­ture plant­ing sea­sons.

Mr. Dar said he will con­sult with seed pro­duc­ers, farm­ers, traders, and other stake­hold­ers to de­fine cur­rent in­dus­try trends, mar­ket de­mand, con­sumer needs and pref­er­ences, and any re­quired pol­icy shifts or re­forms. —

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