Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who is with President Benigno Aquino III on a week-long official visit to Europe said, "Ito po ang pinakamalaking pamana if ever na we can accomplish, food self-sufficiency."

"Mahabang panahon na itong pinangarap, matagal nang gustong gawin, at this point abot-kamay na po natin. We cannot stop our efforts, we need to continue," Alcala added.

The secretary also underlined the importance of inclusive growth that has been accomplished through programs implemented under the Aquino administration.

According to the Secretary, the entire country owes the record-setting 18.44 million metric tons rice harvest to the farmers who tirelessly worked to make us 96 percent rice self-sufficient and to the timely government interventions.

"We could not have reached 18.44 million metric tons without the farmers and without prompt and proper intervention from the government," Alcala said.

The Secretary added that never before has the Philippines had this increment in rice.

According to Alcala, because of government's farm mechanization and seed banking initiatives, the Philippines is already on the verge of corn self-sufficiency, and it is a big boost that corn now can be harvested for the whole year because of modern post-harvest facilities.

“Nakakapag-harvest po tayo ng corn whole year round because of the corn-in-a-cob dryer na ibinigay ng ating pangulo,” Alcala said.

The Secretary added that for the first time, under the Aquino administration, seed banks for the country’s crops were established so that whenever inclement weather hits the country, replacement seeds are ready to be planted.

The President and the Secretary arrived in Madrid, Spain on Sunday, September 14 and proceeded to Brussels Belgium the following day. Paris, France will be the last leg of their trip. (DA-OSEC)

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