Growers surpass prod'n goal thru DA's rice QTA
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Manila (21 September) -- THE feared rice shortage in the country brought about by the drought may not be a problem after all, this as the Department of Agriculture (DA) plan to mitigate its effects bore fruit, DA recently reported.
The DA, through the GMA Rice Program has implemented Quick Turn-Around (QTA) planting scheme in certain areas, including Bohol, and it worked well on rice buffers, authorities at the DA said.
It may be recalled that Provincial Agriculturist Liza Quirog recently asked all Bohol mayors to support the local implementation of the QTA planting scheme, which would involve quick planting successions in areas across Bohol.
The QTA uses early-maturing seeds in fully irrigated areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, to recoup lost rice output due to damage caused by the Luzon drought.
For this scheme, hybrid and certified inbred seeds were sold to farmers at subsidized prices so they could plant as soon.
Good seeds were also used owing to the limited supply of hybrid and certified inbred seeds, GMA National Rice Program Director Frisco Malabananan said.
"These good seeds produced by accredited seed growers and were procured at P730.00 per bag (40kg) or P18.25/kg and were given to farmers as grants," he told reporters early this week.
Malabanan based his report on the DA-Regional Field Units updates as of September 15. It also showed that the country has already attained 95% planting accomplishment in the QTA areas.
This means that out of the target area of 88,174 hectares, a total of 99,217 hectares have been planted to rice since the program started on Aug. 1.
Bohol and the Central Visayas were apportioned 2,500 hectares for planting in quick succession, although Quirog said Bohol would be using another plan to respond to the quota.
"When we may not be able to cultivate more than the 2,500 hectares due to lack of land areas, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture goes to allow more farm technicians into the fields to aid farmers produce more from the lands they till," Quirog explained during the QTA presentation at the mayors' meeting.
"I am happy to report that we surpassed our planting targets for the QTA," GMA Program Director Malabananan said.
Region 12 led the QTA planting with 33,858 hectares followed by Region 10 with 13,604 hectares and Region 6 with 12,043 hectares.
Regions 1, 4 -A and B, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13 and the ARMM also conducted QTAs in their areas, Malabanan said.
Over these developments, DA secretary Arthur Yap said, "I am very heartened by the result given to me by our operation group in the QTA."
I am ordering greater coordination not only with the LGUs and the Irrigators Associations but the BAS and the national program coordinator as well, to ensure that we can capture the data and this can be credited to the selfless effort of our farmers," Secretary Yap said.
The regional offices are regularly monitoring the development of these QTA areas to ensure the attainment of the targeted production of about 300,000 metric tons (mt). With more areas planted under the QTA, the projected rice production could reach 350,000 metric tons, Yap added.
"With QTA output plus current buffer stocks in the warehouses of the National Food Authority, the DA is confident that the rice supply will be enough until the end of 2007 despite the dry spell, DA authorities assured. (PIA) [top]