02 February 2024, 3 PM | NIA Central Office, EDSA, Diliman, Quezon City

DA USec. Atty. Alvin Balagbag, NIA Acting Administrator Eduardo Eddie Guillen, colleagues from the government, esteemed guests, champions of agriculture, and advocates for change, good afternoon.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Integrated Rice Supply Chain Development Program that we signed with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Irrigation Administration or NIA marks a momentous occasion as we gather here to embark on a transformation journey.

The Philippines is one of the top producers of rice in the Asian region. Hence, it is just and imperative that we prioritize access to this essential food staple for every Filipino. Under the visionary leadership of President Marcos Jr., our country stands committed to ensuring food security as outlined in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. This strategic initiative aligns with the DTI’s Three-Year Food Logistics Agenda which focuses on safeguarding affordable and accessible food for all Filipinos.

The collaboration among the DTI, DA, and NIA, formalized through the signing of this MOU, exemplifies our shared mission to bolster our agricultural sector. By pooling resources and expertise, we aim to fortify the agricultural landscape, foster economic resilience, and guarantee a future where quality and affordable food is accessible to every Filipino.

This partnership is also vital as the DTI broadens its scope in linking farmers to institutional buyers by including rice in the agricultural products it offers through the RicetoRisePH B2B platform. Designed under the Integrated Rice Supply Chain Development Program, RicetoRisePH aims to facilitate efficient transactions between farmers’ cooperatives, irrigators’ associations, LGUs, and institutional buyers. This initiative seeks to enhance trade efficiency, reduce logistics costs, and ultimately make rice more affordable and accessible to consumers while ensuring stability for farmers.

Moreover, the DTI’s RicetoRisePH B2B platform builds on the success of Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) Fresh. This pioneering initiative is the DTI’s pilot B2B e-commerce project in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development – Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy (USAID-SPEED) Project and the Neva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT), Inc. It uses the InsightSCS’ Deliver-E platform to connect farmers with potential buyers.

We recognize that retailers have a significant role in the supply chain, as they connect producers and consumers. This is the reason why we encourage you to be at the forefront of positive change through the RicetoRisePH. This platform is beyond a transactional space; this is a vibrant ecosystem where retailers are integral partners in securing accessible and affordable rice for every Filipino.

To the retailers, distributors, and key stakeholders gathered with us today, we value your presence and active participation as we take a bold step toward enhancing the Philippine agricultural landscape. With the signing of this MOU, we are proud to unveil the RicetoRisePH B2B platform!

To our colleagues in the Department of Agriculture and NIA, we appreciate your unwavering dedication and collaborative spirit as we work towards a more streamlined supply chain that will benefit Filipino farmers and consumers. We applaud your significant contribution in linking us to different irrigator associations, who are now our potential supplier partners in the RicetoRisePH platform.

Under the leadership of our beloved president, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., let us rise to the occasion and work together to build a more robust, more resilient agricultural sector for the benefit of Filipino farmers and consumers.

Sama-sama tayo tungo sa matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay sa isang Bagong Pilipinas!

Together, we rise! ♦

Date of release: 02 February 2024