Filipinos shift to ‘quality’ rice

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    Next to production improvement, planting of rice varieties preferred by consumers should be the next focus of farmers.

    “We need to adapt to the changes brought about by 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… That is why 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,” said William Dar, secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), in a virtual meeting with rice stakeholders.

    The DA said rice millers and traders do not buy local palay due to the low quality of the grain. Some stocks being sold to millers are composed mostly of assorted varieties that produce chalky and broken grains after milling.

    Changing taste. Better tasting, better smelling yet affordable rice varieties are preferred by consumers.

    According to the DA, consumers now prefer rice varieties that are long-grain with better taste and smell when cooked but are still affordable.

    Dar said seed producers should discuss preferred rice varieties of onsumers while farmers, traders, and millers should determine trends in the demand of the domestic market.

    “We have to make seed producers, farmers and other stakeholders understand that our overall strategy now is inclusive market-oriented development… Our farmers must produce whatever is the market’s demand and the consuming public’s needs. We need to adapt to changes brought about by the new regime,” Dar said.

    The country’s palay harvest during the first half of 2020 totaled 8.387 million metric tons (MT), 1.4 percent more than the 8.269 million MT for the similar period last year.

    The DA projects palay output for the second half of the year will reach as high as 11.954 million MT, a 13.4 percent growth from last year’s 10.545 million MT.