IMG 1707A photo opportunity after the ceremonial turn-over of rice seeds to Central Luzon farmers.###

This year’s rice awareness month centered on advocating for the local rice farmers who are greatly affected by the Rice Tarrification and Import Liberalization Law.

It was themed “Buy Local, Eat Local; #Supportourlocalfarmers” that calls for consumers to patronize locally produced rice amidst the influx of imported rice.

“It’s high time to support our own, our own agricultural produce, local products, small and medium enterprise… this is to motivate our farmers to continue producing high-quality rice and agricultural produce, dapat bigyan natin sila ng merkado,” Regional Director Roy M. Abaya of Department of Agriculture (DA)-Central Luzon said in his welcome message during the kick-off of the NRAM celebration at the University of the Philippine College of Science Amphitheater on November 4.

Due to the falling prices of unhusked rice caused by the increased rice supply from other countries, local farmers are expressing dismay in producing rice.

As among the DA’s way to address the issue, it launched the said advocacy.

“Tayo sa Kagawaran ng Pagsasaka, sa mga estudyante who are here, let’s us advocate more that we Filipino to buy and eat local rice para doon sa mga nagsasamantala ngayon na nagi-import ng bigas at hindi pinapalabas pa sa merkado because they want to further take advantage this situation where prices are falling, dapat let’s buy rice from farmers who are in the countryside,” Secretary William Dar said in his keynote speech as he acknowledge the attendees of the event.

There were more than 300 attendees composed of employees from different offices, farmers from Central Luzon and students from UP and Central Luzon State University.

Several activities were also lined up during the kick-off. One of which is the formal launching of KADIWA, an exhibit of different rice varieties and its by-products placed at the DA-Central Office and Agricultural Training Institute. It will also sell freshly-milled rice and other agricultural produce coming directly from farmers of the country.

IMG 1737Employees of DA-MIMAROPA also joined in the celebration at the UP Diliman.###

There were also ceremonial turn-over of rice seeds to Central Luzon farmers and brown rice to students that symbolize new start and culture, respectively.

Meanwhile, Ariella “Ara” Arida, Miss Universe 2013 3rd Runner-up, graced the event by leading the Panatang Makapalay while students from CLSU presented several dance numbers and UP students gave a heartwarming serenade in the event.

Apart from the kick-off activity, there will be a brown rice day where brown rice will be served for free in chosen school cafeterias, mall exhibit at SM Cabanatuan, ceremonial harvesting of rice garden, and a rice industry stakeholders conference.

IMG 1635Upon registration attendees receive loot bags imprinted with this year’s battle cry: Buy Local, Eat Local: Support Our Local Rice Farmers.###

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