In response to Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar’s call for regions to increase rice production in low-yielding provinces and maintain or improve rice productivity in high-yielding areas this upcoming dry season, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-CALABARZON met with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) from all provinces in the region to conduct a technical consultation on optimization of rice yields during the dry-season cropping 2020–2021, via teleconference on September 9, 2020.
The director said that the national government has allocated P5 billion for DA’s Rice Resiliency Program (RRP) this dry season 2020–2021. “The DA will provide incentives through the RRP to areas that will achieve a significant increase in rice productivity. We challenge everyone to expand their reach to help more rice farmers achieve a higher sufficiency of rice in the region,” Director de Mesa said.
Mr. Dennis R. Arpia, Assistant Regional Director (ARD) for Operations and Regional Rice Program Coordinator, thanked everyone for taking part in this endeavor to increase the sufficiency of rice this coming dry season. He asked the provincial agriculturists and the provincial rice coordinators for further support, to be more proactive and effective in helping rice farmers especially during this pandemic.
“The least we can do is to give farmers the opportunity to get seeds when they need it. With the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s joint memorandum circular with DA, we expect full support and coordination from local government units and provincial agriculture offices,” the ARD said.
Apart from that, ARD Arpia said the regional office intends to subsidize all seed requirements for all farmers regardless of the size of their land this coming dry season through its RRP. This is to ensure a considerable increase in the region’s rice production.
During the meeting, agricultural extension workers were encouraged to adopt geotagging technology to ensure farmers can send reports on their farms’ situation at any given time. This will guarantee proper use of interventions such as free, certified seeds, and fertilizers through DA’s RRP.
Data from last year’s rice production and seed utilization will be used as a baseline for optimizing the rice yields this 2020–2021 dry season. This will help the regional office identify unique constraints on high rice yield within the provinces in the targeted rice areas, accurately quantify the use of certified seeds and hybrid seeds, map low- and high-yielding areas, and identify areas suitable for hybrid rice and certified seed distribution. The regional office will then provide due action and interventions through its RRP upon consolidation.
The initial provincial planting target area at CALABARZON is 56,600 hectares, allocating 22,350 bags of seeds from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund; 25,250 bags of inbred seeds; and 9,000 bags of hybrid seeds.
Director de Mesa expressed appreciation to all OPAs for taking part in the regional office’s goal to attain higher rice yields during this 2020-2021 dry-season cropping. He said this would be a great opportunity for them to discuss plans and targets on rice production that are measurable and achievable.
“We are looking forward to your continuous support on DA’s programs like RRP. With your help, we can close the gaps and help achieve higher rice productivity for our rice farmers in CALABARZON,” Director de Mesa said. • (MAP, DA-RAFIS)