DA eyes 1M hectares as rice expansion area

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing a doable expansion of rice areas by one million hectares throughout the country, rehabilitation of existing irrigation facilities, and the provision of appropriate irrigation system to rice rainfed areas.

This was said by DA Regional Director Emelyn Recoter during the celebration of World Food Day on October 5 in Iloilo City through a poster making contest participated by selected 15 elementary grades pupils in the city and province of Iloilo.

Recoter reiterated the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte to attain food security and self-sufficiency, and the need for consideration the climate change phenomenon.

The “Munlad na Agrikultura sa Nayon (Mana)” is a special project of the DA that would espouse and enhanced provision of agricultural investments and services to empower greater number of farmers and fisherfolks.

Aside from expansion of rice areas, the project is eyeing the rehabilitation of El Niño damaged areas and mitigation plan for La Niña.

The El Niño recovery program is aimed at providing immediate assistance to damaged agricultural areas, identify the gaps, and provide interventions to attain full recovery.

On the mitigation plan, DA would indentify vulnerable areas prone to damage brought by El Niña as well as associated risks and mitigations.

DA is pushing for brown rice or the unpolished rice consumption in Western Visayas as an effective way to solve four major problems of the Filipinos: undernourishment, farmer’s low income, rice self-sufficiency and hunger.

Recoter said that brown rice, locally known as “pinawa,” is the whole grain form of rice since only the outer hull is removed in milling. The intact brand is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than white milled rice.

Its nutritional content helps in the prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Any rice variety can be made into brown rice but DA recommends the varieties which are soft and with good eating quality.

Recoter said the consumption of brown rice will help the country attain rice sufficiency since the milling recovery is 10 percent higher compared to white rice. This will also help increase the farmers’ income.
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