IMPROVED rice production in Davao Region is attributed to mechanization, said Department of Agriculture-Davao Regional Director Abel Monteagudo on Friday, July 1.

During a virtual press conference, Monteagudo said that technology - particularly mechanization - has increased the efficiency of the rice farming industry which in turn, increased production.

Mechanization refers to using various types of equipment to aid in the farming process from crop establishment to post-harvest.

“Mas paspas, mas efficient, mas dali unya mas gamay ang cost when it comes to labor versus makina (The use of mechanization allows farmers to work faster, more efficiently, and easier. It cost is also cheaper than pure labor),” Monteagudo said.

In 2021, the sufficiency rate reached 54 percent from 50 percent in 2020. Albeit a slow or small growth, Monetagudo said it is a good sign that the rice production is increasing.

The 54 percent rate is equivalent to 484,725 metric tons, from 466,764 metric tons the previous year, based on the report of former Regional Development Council in Davao Region (RDC-Davao) Chairperson Gov. Jayvee Uy.

According to the regional director, rice farming in Davao Region covers an area of 58,840 hectares, some of the farmers have started to mechanize their farming but many are still reliant on the traditional way of farming.

“Naa pa daghan gihapon pwede nato maingon na traditional gyod gihapon (Some still rely on the traditional ways)... that is what the challenge is all about with the DA-Davao,” Monteagudo said.

He added, “Gi-obligar pud mi na kung pwede ma-mechanize gyod halos tanan. Dak-dako na pud atong na-mechanize (We have been obligated to mechanize most of the farming and we have helped a lot to mechanize their process).”

Despite this improvement, rice production in Davao Region is still considered low, compared to other provinces in Mindanao and nationwide. Davao Region is the fourth producer in Mindanao, said Monteagudo.

He said it is because Davao Region produces high-value crops more than rice, such as cavendish banana, cacao, and coffee.

Monteagudo added that DA-Davao will continue to improve rice production in the region. “Ang demand nato naga-saka mao na we have to catch up,” he said. ICM