Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson Sen. Cynthia A. Villar yesterday exhorted the public and all concerned government agencies to continue supporting the local seed industry, saying it is the foundation of a productive agriculture.
“Continuous production and development of seeds is necessary because the availability of quality seeds are the key to successful farming,” said Villar during the 5th National Seed Summit at Great Eastern Hotel / Aberdeen Court Exterior in Quezon City.
“In return, quality seeds results to increased production and income for the farmers,” added Villar in the summit initiated by the Bureau of Plant Industry – National Seed Industry Council (BPI- NSIC) with the theme, “Sustaining the Gains of the Seed Industry towards Productivity and Food Security”.
The event aims to gather stakeholders in the seed sector such as farmers, seed growers, seed dealers and technical experts to discuss issues confronting the seed industry.
In her speech, Villar also cited the UN – Food and Agriculture Organization, which stated that seed system is one of the pillars of agricultural development and food security.
“They make an important contribution to ensure and support food security and nutrition. Good seeds play an important role in maintaining the resistance to pests, diseases and climate change,” further said the senator.
Villlar said this is reason why in the 2023 national budget deliberation, she pushed for additional P100 million budget for the Bureau of Plant Industry. (BPI).
The additional funding , she said, will bankroll the development of the 5 BPI Centers located in Baguio and Los Baños, Laguna in Luzon, La Granja, Negros Occidental and Guimaras in Visayas, and Davao in Mindanao.
She said this would capacitate the centers to develop quality seeds of vegetable and fruit varieties and teach the seed growers to promote them to other farmers.
Futhermore, the senator mentioned RA7308, or the Act to promote and develop the seed industry in the Philippines
and create a National Seed Industry Council which shall have the direct responsibility for the production distribution. and regulation of breeder, among others.
The law also provides that UP Los Banos shall provide leadership in plant biotechnology activities.The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PHILRICE) shall develop an appropriate rice variety designed under Philippine conditions and propagate them.
The Board of Investment (BOI) shall promulgate necessary rules for the development of the seed industry while the
private sector of the seed industry shall direct their collective efforts towards an increased and more active cooperation and coordination with the government agencies.
Farmers’ organizations shall take active part in the conservation of the plant genetic resources of the nation.