BPI plays key role in food sufficiency program

food-sufficiency

AGRICULTURE Secretary Proceso J. Alcala underscored the important role and contribution of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in the government’s goal to attain food sufficiency during the agency’s 83rd anniversary celebration, January 24, 2013, in San Andres, Manila.

He commended the men and women of the BPI, led by Director Clarito Barron, for their valuable contribution in the sustained growth and development of the country’s crop industry, which last year grew by 4.1 percent, with a total value of P797.7 billion at current prices.

The crop subsector contributed more than one-half (51.5%) to total agriculture production, which increased by 2.92% last year, despite several typhoons that hit the country.

The DA chief also urged the men and women of the DA-BPI to be pro-active in providing needed services and interventions to make the country’s crop sector ‘climate-smart’ and compliant to international food safety standards, and further enhance the competitiveness of Philippine fruits and vegetables in the world market.

“Let’s protect diligently our border’s safety. Not only for those products we import, but also for those we export,” Secretary Alcala said. For those serving as plant quarantine officers, he asked them to communicate to him whatever intervention needs to be done, to swiftly resolve major issues and concerns.

One of the pioneer bureaus under the Department, the BPI is mandated to provide farmers and crop industry stakeholders various technical services and assistance. These include plant genetic resource conservation and management; conduct of researches to improve crop farming systems; production of quality seeds and planting materials; enforcement of plant quarantine laws, rules and regulations; and development of processing technologies on utilization of agricultural crops and its by-products.

The agency also provides technical services on farm mechanization, physico-chemical, microbiological and pesticide residue analysis, seed testing and seed certification, and pest surveillance, control, management and forecasting.

During the anniversary program, Secretary Alcala presented awards and commendations to outstanding BPI employees, distributed seeds of organic and aromatic rice varieties to farmers, including fruits and vegetables production guides.

For his part, Director Barron cited the agency’s major milestones and accomplishments, including the conduct of more than 100 research studies on crop varietal development.

The BPI also imposed stricter measures to ensure that the country’s fruits and vegetables for both domestic and export markets are free from insects and diseases. In particular, it issued a new set of guidelines in the accreditation of exporters, traders, growers, and packing facilities for export of fruits and vegetables. To date, the BPI has accredited 59 banana exporters, 431 banana growers, 74 packing facility operators, and 422 packing facilities.

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