THE Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will partner with a seed company and a farmers’ cooperative to push a shift to organic premium rice production.

In a statement, the agency cited the benefits of organic brown and black rice and premium quality rice varieties for export.

MinDA Chairman Emmanuel F. Piñol wants to support farmers who have been affected by declining local prices due to the Rice Liberalization Law.

Mr. Piñol earlier said one way to mitigate the impact of low rice prices is for farmers to find alternatives to increase their income such as growing premium varieties that foreign markets are looking for.

Mr. Piñol earlier this month went to Papua New Guinea to sign a memorandum of understanding for agricultural cooperation between Mindanao and the country, which would pave the way for more premium rice exports from the Philippines.

Under the deal, MinDA will help Mindanao rice farmers in exporting about 5,000 metric tons of rice. Local farmers will also help their counterparts develop their agricultural sector.

MinDA is also looking at other markets such as the US and Middle East for its premium rice varieties. — Carmelito Q. Francisco