Pres. Duterte on DA Sec. Piñol : ‘He’s all air’

Pres. Duterte on DA Sec. Piñol : ‘He’s all air’

Vietnam has more or less 9 million hectares allotted for rice, Thailand has around 6 million hectares and the Philippines has more or less 3 million hectares for rice production.
The Philippines is the number one importer of rice, the idea of increasing production is a far-fetched dream since we are even losing rich riceland to housing developments, ironic since we are host to the International Rice Research Center.
So it was not a big surprised that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte despite the country’s vast agricultural fields, we have regressed to being the world’s top grains importer.

Pres.Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Malacanang Photos)

The low growth in the agricultural sector, made the President exasperated on the Department of Agriculture.
The President, took nothing but lip service past pronouncements made by the current Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol that the country can regain its status as a top rice exporter.
The President in a speaking engagement in Palawan recalled how in one of the many cabinet meetings early in her presidency ,  a very enthusiastic DA Sec. Piñol asked for his go-signal to give him a free hand to implement plans that will push forward the country’s agriculture sector.
“He told me, Mr. President, I guarantee’ — in his English twang — that maybe if we can start immediately, at the end of the year, I can predict that we will be even a rice-exporting country,’” Mr. Duterte shared.
“So, everyone exchanged glances. Bingbong (Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea), then (Finance Secretary) Sonny Dominguez. He was Agriculture Secretary of Cory (Aquino). Dominguez whispered to me, He’s all air.’ I asked why. So, the other one, the English-speaking guy (Piñol) said “There’s not enough land available this year to plant. You need the hybrids. It’s being done there in Los Baños. But until then, we would not have something like the high yielding per hectare that you expect then Sonny interjected, That’s impossible,’” he continued
The President narrated that he went on to tell how others in the same meeting dismissed Piñol’s “airy” ideas and how the DA chief stood by his suggestion.
“Sir, no sir. No, mayor. Me, when I put my soul to task, I focus on it, believe me.’ So, here comes… by the end of the year, there was a crisis,” Mr. Duterte said in jest.

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Report from  Manila Times

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