Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. has committed to look into the staffing of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija and the possibility of hiring more employees.
In a news release on Thursday, Laurel said PhilRice is “severely undermanned”, especially for its central role in producing seeds and developing technology that would help increase rice output with 140-hectares and eight stations throughout the country.
It has 297 personnel including scientists and employs 1,500 contractual workers.
Laurel said the role and efforts of rice experts and scientists are pertinent to attaining national food security, as the Marcos administration is focused on improving rice production and reducing post-harvest losses through science and technology.
PhilRice, a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture, is tasked to develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies for farmers through research and development work.
Laurel said the dream of being rice sufficient is achievable specifically with scientific and technological interventions.
“We just have to work in harmony. We just have to focus our efforts and synchronize with each other in implementing our rice programs with all agencies, local government units, and stakeholders,” he said. (PNA)