DA developing alternative rice farming areas
After several typhoons ravaged most agricultural lands in the Northern Luzon area, considered as the country’s major rice-producing region, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will develop rice farming areas in other parts of the country to boost the national inventory.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on his Facebook page the agency would develop around 300,000 hectares of land, 200 ha of which would be situated in four towns in Northern and Eastern Samar.
The towns include Catubig, Las Navas and Mapanas in Northern Samar, and Jipapad in Easter Samar. These areas were hit by Typhoon Samuel just a month ago.
“Under the supervised rice farming scheme, the landowners will be asked to enter into an agreement with the DA and PhilRice (Philippine Rice Research Institute) for the development of their area into a model rice farm,” Piñol said.
“All expenses will be covered by the two agencies which, after harvest, will quantify the cost of the equipment services and deduct it from the gross earnings,” he added.
The project, dubbed as the “Southern Swing” initiative, involves a partnership with the private sector. ChinYe Agricultural Corporation, a company with a state-of-the-art rice processing center in Alangalang, Leyte, will allow local farmers to use its farm equipment and machinery provided that the farmers’ produce will be sold to the company.
Other areas identified in the program are areas in Western Visayas, Mindoro, Palawan, Central Mindanao, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
The new rice areas are scheduled to be fully developed by 2020 or before the end of President Duterte’s term.
The initiative was hatched after the sector’s performance fell by 0.83 percent in the third quarter as a result of the decline in the country’s palay and corn production by 5.7 percent and 14.83 percent, respectively.
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