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.
“Kung ano demand ng market, kung ano ang pangangailangan ng consuming public iyon ang dapat i-produce ng ating mga magsasaka. (Market demand and the needs of the consuming public should determine what farmers produce) We need to adapt to changes brought about by the new regime,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave