THE Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas has noted a 12.15 percent increase in the region's palay production during the first half of the year.
Citing reports from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the agency said Western Visayas has produced 753,832.24 metric tons (MT) from January to June 2020.
The figure is higher than 672,152.53 MT production output during the same period last year.
DA-Western Visayas Director Remelyn Recoter, in a statement, said despite the threats brought by coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the resiliency of rice farmers in the region remains.
Recoter said farmers manifested their dedication and commitment to provide sufficient, affordable and safe food for the people.
"Our farmers are situated in rural areas. During the enhanced community quarantine period, movement and transportation were restricted but they still found enough time to monitor, supervise and manage their rice lands," she added.
The DA reported that across all ecosystems whether irrigated, rain-fed and upland, Iloilo has the highest production of 352,416.38 MT during the first six months of 2020.
It was followed by Capiz with 179, 345.01 MT; Negros Occidental – 107,821 MT; Aklan – 52,223.85 MT; Antique – 46,890 MT; and Guimaras – 15,136 MT.
In 2019, Iloilo still ranks first with a six-month palay production of 298,376.53 MT.
It was followed by Capiz – 125,287 MT; Negros Occidental – 112, 069 MT; Antique – 80,425 MT; Aklan – 45,137 MT and Guimaras – 10,858 MT.
The region's average yield also increased from three MT per hectare in January to June 2019 to 3.27 MT per hectare in the same period this year.
Antique recorded the highest yield with 3.60 MT per hectare followed by Negros Occidental – 3.56 MT; Iloilo – 3.28 MT; Capiz – 3.22 MT; Aklan – 2.85 MT; and Guimaras – 2.56 MT.
In terms of harvested areas, Iloilo has 107,287 hectares.
Capiz, meanwhile, has 55,655 hectares; Negros Occidental – 30,270 hectares; Aklan – 18,332 hectares; Antique – 13,042 hectares; and Guimaras – 5,902 hectares.
Recoter is optimistic that with the interventions given to rice farmers under the Rice Resiliency Program (RRP), Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), and Regular Rice Program particularly on the distribution of seeds and fertilizer during this wet season, the region could play a big role in ensuring the rice sufficiency of the country this year.
Recoter stressed that Western Visayas has contributed 2.077 million MT or 11.04 percent of the 18.814 million MT national rice production in 2019.
Also, the region is one of three regions with major contributions to the national palay production. The two other regions are Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley.
"I am happy that more rice farmers have planted hybrid, certified, and good seeds this season," she said, adding that "I am also optimistic that they have applied appropriate fertilization with the free Urea fertilizer we have given them."
This could be translated to a bountiful harvest this year, the regional director said.