DA-BAR seminar highlights RiceBIS in Agusan del Norte

“The farmers must be transformed into agro-entrepreneurs.”  

This was emphasized by resource speaker Sharen T. Rivas of DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Agusan Experiment Station, Agusan del Norte during the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research’s (BAR) seminar on 21 September 2023 via StreamYard and DA-BAR’s official Facebook Page. 

“RiceBIS [Rice Business Innovations System] is a model for community of practice geared at developing rice and rice-based enterprises within a province to address farmers’ needs–from production to marketing–in a resilient and sustainable manner, ensuring available and affordable rice,” Rivas shared. 

Funded by the DA-BAR and implemented by PhilRice under the leadership of Dr. Aurora M. Corales starting 2020, RiceBIS was introduced as a community model to help farmers not only with their production concerns but also with how they deal with market and business development services. 

Rivas underscored clustering as one of the most important principles underlying RiceBIS, as seen in Agusan del Norte. Other strategies that worked in the province, according to Rivas, are establishing a site working group, roll-over scheme, and market linkaging. Dr. Corales, in a video recording shown by Rivas, said that clustered farming for unified production and collective marketing enabled value-adding the farmers’ products and linkaging them with traders and millers as well as with institutional buyers for processing . 

The seminar also featured testimonial videos of Agusan Del Norte rice farmers. Rodolfo Mondehar shared that, “noon talaga kakaunti lang ang aming ani. Dahil sa RiceBIS at mga seminar namin, nadagdagan ng 20 kaban yung ani.” Other testimonials highlighted RiceBIS’s benefits to institutional buyers and to the community. 

As a result of the RiceBIS implementation throughout the Philippines, a total of 94 clusters were organized, composed of 3,957 farmers with 1,117 hectares that had organized production and group marketing. For the expansion coverage, a total of 70 clusters were organized, composed of 2,821 farmers that had organized production and group marketing. (### Lea B. Calmada)