Mindanao farmers urged to plant organic rice

DON Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative, which has pioneered the export of organic rice to at least six countries, said they will help Mindanao rice farmers export premium quality rice to foreign markets and urge them to shift to planting organic rice.

This was after Don Bosco reported that they could not meet the demand of the local market for black and brown organic rice which sell higher than ordinary rice.

During a meeting with Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman Emmanel Piñol on Monday, September 9, members of the Board of Directors of Don Bosco said that their affiliated farmers get an additional P2 premium over the prevailing market price for rice as their incentive in growing organic rice

However even as the farmgate price of commercial rice varieties has plummeted to P10 to P12 in many areas in Mindanao, Don Bosco buys its members' produce at P19 per kilo, according to Mario Alolosan, the chairman of Don Bosco.

"We are not producing enough for the demands of the local market which is why we have focused on the domestic market first and reduced our export volume," Don Bosco's Vice Chairman Maria Helenita Gamela said.

Don Bosco, during the said meeting, also agreed to help Mindanao rice farmers by initially facilitating the export of high value premium quality rice to foreign markets while steering them to producing organic rice in the coming planting season.

On September 20, MinDA, Don Bosco and the local seed production company, Seedworks Philippines, will be holding a forum in Davao City for rice farmers who would like to venture into growing organic black and brown rice and premium rice varieties.

The forum, "Looking Beyond RTL: Growing and Exporting Premium and Organic Rice for Healthy Food," is a one-day activity that aims to roll out the benefits of shifting to the production of organic and premium quality rice for export.

The event is part of MinDA's advocacy to support rice farmers in Mindanao who are affected by the Rice Liberalization Law, which has opened the market to imported rice resulting to the fall of farm gate prices to levels where local farmers end up losing money. (With PR)


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