SEN. CYNTHIA VILLAR, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, challenged the country’s top entomologists and plant pathologists to come up with a solution to the worsening infestation of scale insects on coconut trees which has already wiped out about 54,000 coconut trees in Batangas and Laguna and is creeping towards the coconut plantations in Quezon Province.
Sen. Villar was the keynote speaker last May 6, 2014, during the opening of the National Scientific Conference of the Pest Management Council of the Philippines headed by Dr. Jocelyn Eusebio of PCAARRD, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development. The event was held at the Mandarin Plaza Hotel in Cebu City.
She cited the important role of scientists in improving agricultural productivity and in ensuring food security in the country. She also stressed the need to lower the cost of production of rice in the Philippines which is placed at P10.50 per kilo of palay. She said that Vietnam has the lowest cost of producing rice at P4.50 per kilo of palay.
To catch up with neighboring rice producers, lowering the cost of capital is needed. Also, she stressed farm mechanization as a means of catching up with other rice producing countries.
The lady senator assured that she is always ready to support initiatives that will improve the productivity and economic standing of farmers and fisherfolk.