Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala examines the the quality vegetables and seeds of the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) during the opening of its exhibit at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Quezon City on Tuesday (September 9, 2014). (MNS photo)

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala examines the the quality vegetables and seeds of the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) during the opening of its exhibit at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Quezon City on Tuesday (September 9, 2014). (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Food self-sufficiency could be the lasting legacy of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who is with the President on a week-long official visit to Europe, said that “once attained, the greatest legacy of the administration would be food self-sufficiency.”

According to the DA chief, rice and corn self-sufficiency are already within reach due to record harvests of the two staples last year.

DA records showed that despite the occurrence of several calamities, the Philippines managed to register a record-setting rice harvest of 18.44 million metric tons in 2013 that achieved 96-percent rice self-sufficiency for the country.

“Never before had we achieved such bountiful harvest of rice,” Alcala noted.

Meanwhile, the country is also on the verge of corn self-sufficiency due to timely government interventions.

“We could not have accomplished these record feats without our farmers and without prompt and proper intervention from the government,” Alcala said.

According to the DA chief, the government’s farm mechanization and seed banking initiatives have significantly boosted rice and corn production in the Philippines.

“Corn can now be planted and harvested for the whole year because of modern post-harvest facilities, like the corn-in-a-cob dryer, provided by the government,” he said.

“And under the Aquino administration, seed banks for the country’s crops have been established for the first time in all regions. This facilitated the immediate distribution of replacement seeds whenever inclement weather hits,” Alcala said.

This initiative, he added, further boosted the production capabilities of farmers, especially those in the countryside.

“The country had aspired and endeavored for so long to achieve food self-sufficiency. It is now within reach. We will not stop and we would redouble our efforts,” Alcala assured. (MNS)