Davao Norte to produce rice surplus for Luzon
By Noel Bagiuo
Davao City (27 October) -- Davao del Norte should produce more rice in order to help avert food shortage in the country resulting from the massive devastation of rice paddies in Luzon caused by tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng.
Governor Rodolfo Del Rosario asked the farmers in the province to increase harvest and produce rice surplus needful to share with the people of Luzon, whose food supply is badly affected by the recent back-to-back typhoons that wrought considerable damage of around P20 billion to agriculture in the island.
"Davao del Norte is fortunate enough to be spared from these calamities. So we need to produce more rice to ensure food sufficiency and create a surplus necessary to prevent food shortage in the country," he told farmers who graduated from the season-long Farmers' Field School (FFS) on Palay Check System Rice Production at the Bulwagan ng Lalawigan.
The governor urged farmers to increase their yield in order to help stabilize supply, as well as prices of rice, especially as more typhoons are expected to hit the country before the year ends.
He cited the government's plan to import at least two million tons of rice to cover crop losses from the storms.
The province registered one of the highest production in the Davao region during the last cropping season. With an average yield of 5.3 metric tons per hectare, Davao del Norte's 15,000 hectares of rice fields produced more than 80,000 metric tons of palay.
This translated into an estimated gross income of more than P1.5 billion, which the province aims to increase by at least 20 percent starting this year up to 2011.
Crops Division Chief Norlito Agduyeng of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit-XI expressed confidence the province will be able to meet its target with the government's quality support services and subsidies being provided to the farmers.
These include seed subsidy for both hybrid and certified seeds for the next dry cropping season.
Agduyeng urged more farmers to plant hybrid rice in order to fully benefit from its great potential of increasing yield.
Last year, the Provincial Government allotted P28.4 million for seeds assistance, where some 28,300 bags of both inbred and hybrid rice seeds were given to 22,000 rice farmer-beneficiaries in the province.
Agduyeng encouraged the 162 farmer-graduates of the FFS on Palay Check System to share what they learned with fellow farmers who did not have the opportunity to undergo the 16-week training and actual practices in rice production.
Implemented by the DA-RFU-XI, in cooperation with the Provincial Agriculturist Office, the palay check system is another integrated rice management approach that aims to enhance the knowledge of farmers on rice propagation to increase production using new technologies.
Among the important key factors the farmers learned in the new system were the selection of quality seeds, proper land preparation, crop establishment, nutrient, water, pest and harvest management.
Provincial Agriculturist Dominador Encarnacion said by following the FFS way, farmers could considerably increase their yield, possibly reaching a net income of up to 170,000 or more.
He said the farmers could contribute more than 20 percent in the agricultural growth rate of the province if they put into practice what they learned in the FFS.
As a highlight of the activity, Agduyeng turned over a one unit mobile vegetable packing facility from DA-XI to Gov. Del Rosario, who in turn handed over the equipment to the Davao del Norte Vegetable Industry Development Association through its president Raye Acain. (Nobags/DavNor ID) [top]