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Philippines Exports Aromatic, Black Rice to Dubai

20 May 2013

PHILIPPINES - With rice self-sufficiency in sight, the Philippines after 40 years will once again export rice, initially comprising of 35 metric tons (MT) of aromatic, long-grain and organic black rice bound for Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, who led the ceremonial send-off at the Manila Harbor Center, said the event is historic as it ushers in a new era in the country’s rice industry and the agriculture sector, in general.

“This occasion is historic and indeed proves that Filipino farmers can produce and export quality rice to other countries,” Secretary Alcala said.

As the country is set to achieve rice sufficiency by end of this year, he said it is prudent to start eyeing the export market, particularly for fancy or aromatic, long-grain white varieties and organic colored and heirloom rice varieties, where Filipino farmers are competitive.

He said the initial rice export was a result of concerted efforts of farmers’ groups, the private sector, and the DA family all over the country.

The initial 35-MT shipment is comprised of 15 MT of organic black rice and 20 MT of ‘Jasponica’ or long-grain, aromatic white rice variety.

The black rice was produced by farmer-members of the Don Bosco Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DBFMPC), in Mlang, North Cotabato, in partnership with the Don Bosco Foundation for Sustainable Dev’t., Inc. (DBFSDI). The black rice was milled and packed at a DA-KOICA rice processing center in Matanao, Davao del Sur.

The Jasponica aromatic white rice was produced by farmers in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, who planted a commercial variety of SL Agritech.

The DA through its national rice program directorate coordinated the initial export rice shipment to Dubai with the Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Vendors Association (VIEVA).

Together with other DA family officials, regional directors, the private sector and farmers’ groups, Secretary Alcala also led the ceremonial send-off of 166 MT of shallots (or small red onions locally known as ‘lasona’) bound for Indonesia.

Another batch of 80 MT aromatic and heirloom rice varieties are set for export in succeeding months, said DA assistant secretary and national rice programme coordinator Dante S. Delima.

”It is composed of 40 MT of long-grain, aromatic white rice bound for Hong Kong, and 40 MT of Cordillera heirloom rice to the United States,” he added.

Delima said the DA is also sending a trial shipment of 800 kilograms of black rice to the Netherlands.

The DA — in partnership with farmers’ groups and the private sector — is finalising negotiations with other prospective buyers in Singapore, the Middle East and Africa.

“At the rate we are going, we are confident we could meet our self-imposed target of 100 metric tons of rice exports by the first half of the year,” Delima said.

Among those present during the send-off ceremonies were: Atty. Miguel Varela, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; SL Agritech president and CEO Henry Lim Bon Liong; VIEVA president Lea Cruz; Romano Laurilla, general manager of DBFMPC; and Maria Helenita Gamela, executive director of DBFSDI.

Dozens of DA officials also graced the event, led by assistant secretaries Dante Delima and Salvador Salacup, National Food Authority Administrator Orlan Calayag, Director Eufemio Rasco of the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Clarito Barron, High Value Crops Development Programme (HVCDP) Director Jennifer Remoquillo, Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) Director Leandro Gazmin, National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) President Honesto Baniqued, and all the DA regional executive directors all over the country.

TheCropSite News Desk

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