RICE farmers in Western Visayas including Negros Occidental are expected to attain a 39-percent increase in the production volume of palay (unhusked rice) during this wet cropping season compared to the actual harvest of 865,923 metric tons (MT) in the same period last year, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the region said.
DA-Western Visayas Rice Program Coordinator Elmer Cabusas, in a statement, said the region can obtain at least 1.2 million MT of palay production this harvest period.
This is due to the agency's interventions and the expansion of areas planted that reached 299,621 hectares in both rain-fed and irrigated ecosystems, Cabusas said.
Negros Occidental is targeting to produce 292,6661 MT this cropping season.
With over 145,000 hectares planted to palay, Iloilo, on the other hand, has a projected production volume of 497,185 MT.
For other provinces, Capiz targets 165,297 MT; Antique - 161,259 MT; Aklan - 62,828 MT; and Guimaras - 21,980 MT.
"For this year, we are hoping that we can produce 2.3 million MT of palay," he said, adding that based on consolidated reports of local government units (LGUs), "we have already accumulated 1.2 million MT production from more than 360,000 hectares of harvested areas with an average yield of 3.7 metric tons per hectare from January to September."
Under favorable climate, proper utilization of inputs provided, and adoption of recommended rice production technologies, he also said the region can secure a four MT per hectare average yield this year.
For 2021, Iloilo and Guimaras are being prioritized for the Rice Hybridization Program while the interventions for the four other provinces in the region are covered by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Program.
DA-Western Visayas reported that for the hybrid cluster, 1,746 bags, at 15 kilograms per bag, of seeds were distributed to Guimaras and 73,374 bags to Iloilo.
The three bags of fertilizer complementing each bag of hybrid seeds are being provided to the farmers through the voucher system where they could access the inputs from DA-accredited agriculture suppliers in the region.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has almost completed the delivery and distribution of 447,999 bags of certified seeds to RCEF areas in Western Visayas intended for the wet cropping season.
"For the dry season, we have already positioned 232,000 bags of RCEF seeds, as well as the seed allocation under the regular program," Cabusas said.
The DA had also established hybrid rice model farms in June, with a minimum of 100 hectares per area.
These farms are in Buenavista, Guimaras; Pototan, Iloilo; Barbaza, Antique; Dumalag, Capiz; Numancia, Aklan; and Bago City, Negros Occidental.
“We have put up these hybrid demonstration farms in different areas in the region so we could provide location-specific and suitable hybrid rice varieties to the next batch of farmers who will graduate from the RCEF program," he said.
Cabusas added that from being certified seed users, they will receive hybrid seeds once they complete the maximum number of times they can access seeds from RCEF. (With reports from DA-Western Visayas)