GMA rice and corn program info caravan hits Bicol
by LS Macatangay
NAGA CITY (31 January) -- Rice and corn stakeholders in Bicol took part in the regional GMA Rice and Corn Program Information Caravan held at the Villa Caceres Hotel last January 25.
The caravan spearheaded by DA Senior officials and which is simultaneously being done in different parts of the country, is geared towards intensifying massive awareness among the department's stakeholders, specifically the farmers and the fishersfolk.
It also aims to hearten the local government units to take a pro-active stance in support to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's desire to strengthen the agriculture sector, including its stakeholders, and to push as well the implementation of the "Ginintuang Masaganang Ani" (GMA) Rice and Corn program.
The caravan also served as a venue to provide the stakeholders with updates on the status of the rice and corn industry, rice and corn program for 2007 of Camarines Sur and defining the role of the LGU in the implementation of the program.
Dr. Jose V. Dayao, DA Bicol Assistant Regional Director for Operations and Regulatory, and GMA Rice Program coordinator, said that one of the concerns of the Arroyo administration is to attain self-sufficiency in rice in the country and the profitability of its primary stakeholders.
Dayao stressed that after the calamities that devastated the region the challenge now for Bicolanos is to stand up and to emerge victorious amidst the destruction brought by the typhoon.
Dayao said that with sheer determination, the possibility of attaining that goal is not far fetched, specially for farmers in Camarines Sur which has the biggest area contributing to 46 per cent of the total rice area in the region. "Seventy-eight per cent (78%) or nearly 52,427 hectares of farmlands in the province are also well-irrigated."
Next to rice, corn is the second most important crop in the region and is considered as staple food in other parts of Bicol. Twenty-nine corn clusters in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Masbate had been organized by the Department to increase production and attain the sufficiency level of said commodity in the region. In Camarines Sur, some 22,828 hectares are mostly planted with yellow corn.
Dr. Arsenio A. Fortin, DA Bicol OIC regional executive director, stressed that the GMA Rice program is determined to reach its goal of attaining 95 per cent rice sufficiency for food and seed requirement.
Fortin said the adequate production of cost-quality corn which is both competitive for food and diet will be achieved through the expansion of corn hybrid production program, minimizing post harvest losses through the provision of efficient post harvest facilities and facilitating farmer's access to top quality seeds, credit and participatory training. (PIA Cams. Sur) [top]