THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in Negros Occidental reported an increase of 4.9 percent in the province’s palay production last year.
Joely Cabarles, officer-in-charge of PSA-Negros Occidental, told SunStar Bacolod on Wednesday, February 21, the figure represents an actual increase in annual production of 22,000 metric tons.
Cabarles said the province’s palay production last year totaled to 474,874 metric tons, higher than the 452,582 metric tons in 2016.
“The upward movement in annual palay production can be attributed to the impact of technologies introduced by the Provincial Government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA),” he added.
Since last year, OPA, along with various government agencies especially the Department of Agriculture (DA), has been intensifying measures to boost rice production through hybridization.
Aside from educating farmers on the use of hybrid seeds, OPA has also started the distribution of seeds to farmers, particularly those recipients of its agriculture on-air radio program.
OPA had earlier said that by using hybrid seeds, the yield is 30 percent higher compared to ordinary seeds.
For this year, the Provincial Government is also stepping up efforts to introduce farm mechanization and making it available to rice farmers.
There is a difference of at least P10,000 per hectare between the production cost of farmers practicing mechanized farming and those who are not, it added.
The PSA official said that although not all farmers in Negros Occidental have already started adapting modern technologies, the province’s palay production would still increase gradually.
“With hybridization plus farm mechanization, we can expect that in the next three to five years the improvement in palay production in the province would be very evident,” Cabarles said, adding that “in fact, we are initially feeling it now.”
PSA-Negros Occidental noted an increasing trend in the province’s annual palay production since 2000, attributing it not to crop conversion, but more to the introduction of farm technologies to farmers.
Aside from modern equipment, these technologies include farm practices like level of fertilizer application and weeds control, among others, Cabarles said.