DA urges rice farmers to plant early, readies interventions for dry season

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: April 17, 2023

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas encourages rice farmers in the region to start their crop establishment by May to ensure sufficient production volume in preparation for the El Niño phenomenon projected to occur last quarter of the year.
DA’s OIC Regional Executive Director Engr. Jose Albert A. Barrogo said the department had positioned the seeds bound for distribution not later than April so farmers could start planting palay earlier than the usual planting period, that is, June or July.
“Right now, we are encouraging our local government units (LGUs) to help us inform and guide the farmers in the early planting activities. This is one way to cope with our target production in the first cropping as we anticipate El Niño,” he said during the Sugilanunay sa Agrikultura press conference on March 28 in Iloilo City.
Director Barrogo added that DA would convene with the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) members to issue an official planting calendar advisory to LGUs and to distribute early the certified seeds under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
DA-PhilRice allocates 430,196 bags of certified inbred seeds this wet season to six provinces in Region 6, with peak delivery from April to June. Iloilo and Negros Occidental have the highest target allocation, with 166,351 bags and 101,216 bags, respectively.
However, with decreased funding, DA only has 2,000 hectares covered for hybrid rice production this year, which is significantly low compared to the previous 68,000 hectares target.
Director Barrogo will also discuss with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) the early release of irrigation water from national and communal irrigation systems to help farmers push through with their palay production.
“I would like to commend the provincial government units of Iloilo and Negros Occidental for augmenting our interventions to rice farmers. Negros Occidental allocated hybrid seeds support for 1,000 hectares, and Iloilo earmarked P150-million for their palay price support program,” he shared.
Western Visayas ranks third among palay-producing regions and contributes 12 percent share to the national supply with 322,163.54 hectares of physical areas for rice production. But since 56 percent of the total rice areas in Region 6 are rainfed, the average yield of palay per hectare is only 3.41 metric tons. Yield performance is immensely affected by the changes in annual rainfall patterns.
DA targets to produce 2,759.727.21 metric tons of palay and attain 4.05 metric tons per hectare average yield this 2023.
“With the seeds, fertilizer, machinery, and cash assistance provided by DA, we are seeking the supportt of the farmers to follow the recommended technologies and cultural management practices to increase our production, yield, and sufficiency level,” he added.
Meanwhile, National Food Authority (NFA) 6 Assistant Regional Manager Herrielle Jumagbas said they have 239,000 bags of buffer-stocked rice for calamities and emergencies. She furthered the agency seeks ways to expand their drying capacities so they could procure more palay, especially during October to December procurement period.
Meanwhile, DA Western Visayas’ OIC-Regional Technical Director for Operations Dominador Marquez also urged farmers to diversify, plant cash crops and heat-resistant varieties. He added that DA provides greenhouse and screenhouse facilities to farmers’ associations to enable the production of off-season vegetables and high-value crops.###By Sheila Mae H. Toreno/DA-RAFIS 6