I guess statements that stagnant rice production is associated with lowly-educated farmers, lack of available capital for such agribusiness, and unavailable technological breakthrough are not very sound, it is more related to lack of farmer’s motivation to improve their land productivity since there is no financial incentive in doing so.
Farmers may not hold university’s degrees, and may not even able to finish their elementary school, but -believe me- they know exactly what they are doing when we are talking about on-farm activities related to rice production. Capital will be available if producing rice becomes profitable business. Unfortunately, at present, high production cost -especially if it is not subsidized- and controlled low price of rice make agribusiness in rice not attractive.
In spite of a lot of efforts have been done, it seems that this issue was, is and will still be there, unless we do the right things. We need to evaluate whether we already tackle the issue on the right spot(s) and we need to admit that we may have been too long ‘barking at the wrong tree’. Are we really on the right track?
I feel that we need to follow the track heading toward condition where are farmers are strongly motivated to increase rice production, and the motivation -I believe- will be generated mainly by financial incentives. We need to place farmers at center stage and we need to acknowledge that rice farmers are the primary actors in this case, not the other stakeholders.
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