Rice production up in NorMin despite calamities

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


THE series of calamities that hit the country and affected Mindanao didn’t stop Northern Mindanao Region (Region 10) from increasing its rice production last year, the agriculture department said Monday.

In fact, only less than 10 percent of the 78,000-hectare ricefields in Northern Mindanao was affected by super typhoon Yolanda in the later part of 2013, said Cora Dumayaca, regional rice focal person of the Department of Agriculture-Northern Mindanao (DA-10).

“Overall, calamities last year have no significant effect on our rice production,” Dumayaca said.

She said the seedlings in rice paddies that were hit by strong winds brought by Yolanda grew well and were harvested.

Besides, the high-producing areas in Northern Mindanao -- particularly in Malaybalay, Valencia and San Fernando in Bukidnon -- did not fail to produce the bulk of the region’s rice yields.

Last year, the region’s production was pegged at 674,903 metric tons (MT), 400,491 MT of these was produced by the province of Bukidnon.

Lanao del Norte came in second with 155,327 MT, followed by Misamis Occidental, 81,185 MT; Misamis Oriental, 25,363 MT; and Camiguin, 2,537 MT.

Of the region’s 158,338 hectares of rice land, most of it (92,574 hectares) is in Bukidnon.

Dumayaca said for this year, DA-10 wanted to increase rice production to 780,136 MT.

The projection by province is as follows: Bukidnon, 445,914 MT; Camiguin, 3,234 MT; Lanao del Norte, 196,746 MT; Misamis Occidental, 90,493 MT; Misamis Oriental, 43,749 MT.

DA-10 regional director Lealyn Ramos attributed this plentiful harvest to the cooperation of the local government units (LGUs) of the agriculture department’s technical and financial support that benefited the rice farmers in northern Mindanao.

“We are thankful to the LGUs and our farmers who became receptive of our programs,” Ramos told reporters during the DA-10’s quarterly media forum held at its regional office Monday.

Ramos said it is just right for the region to boost its rice production since consumers in Northern Mindanao are among the top rice eaters in the country.

In Northern Mindanao, a person eats an average of 108 kilograms of rice per year, while in the country the average consumption is 114 kilograms per person per year.

Modernization

One of the department’s programs is the modernization of the farmlands where various machineries such as tillers, transplanters, harvester-threshers and tractors and were introduced and were granted to farmers.

Dumayaca said around P245 million was allocated by the national government as budget for the different DA-10 programs for this year.

With the increase in rice production, Ramos said the region’s rice sufficiency is already at 94 percent, where in the past few years it was only at 68 percent.

Ramos also reiterated the government’s call for food sufficiency or less dependence on rice as the staple food.

She said the Aquino administration is still promoting corn, banana and root crops as food aside from rice.

Ramos said the government is also gearing up for less procurement of rice through import.

Last year, the region imported 500 MT of rice from neighboring countries, where in the past rice importation could reach as high as 2 million MT.

“We fully support Pres. Aquino’s ‘we will eat what is grown in the country’ call,” she said.

In a statement, DA secretary Proceso Alcala is hoping that before the term of Aquino ends in 2016, the Philippines would have achieved food sufficiency.

In 2013, the rice sufficiency in the country was at 97 percent.

Ramos said that planting and eating of other food staples is a way to minimize rice wastage.

A Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice) news article stated that “based on a 2008 data of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, every Filipino wastes around 9 grams of uncooked rice or 2 tablespoons of cooked rice daily.”

“This wastage,” the article continued, “is equivalent to 13 percent of our rice imports in 2010 and can be valued at P6.2 billion, enough to feed 2.6 million Filipinos for a year.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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