DA develops Samar as new rice production area
The Department of Agriculture aims to develop Samar as the new production area for rice as parts of efforts to boost supply of the country’s main staple.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said DA and its attached-agency Philippine Rice Research Institute would begin the “Southern Swing” approach, which involves the opening and development of potential agricultural areas in poor provinces.
DA and PhilRice will start developing 200 hectares of rice farms in the towns of Catubig, Las Navas and Mapanas in Northern Samar and Jipapad in Eastern Samar.
Under the supervised rice farming scheme, landowners will be asked to enter into an agreement with the DA and PhilRice for the development of the area into a model rice farm.
“We will develop at least 50 hectares each in the four towns where modern rice farming technology using farm machinery, small irrigation systems and outstanding rice seeds will be introduced,” 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 remaining production which will be bought by ChinYe Agricultural Corp. based in Alangalang, Leyte at an agreed price, will be divided between the landowners and the DA-PhilRice Management Group with 70 percent going to the landowner.
Earnings by the DA-PhilRice Management Group, meanwhile, will be plowed back into the project for the development of more areas in the next planting season.
The Southern Swing initiative of the DA aims to develop at least 300,000 hectares of new rice farms in the southern provinces of the country to compensate for the projected damage by typhoons every year on crops in northern Luzon.
In Samar alone, the targeted area is 100,000 hectares which at an average production of six metric tons per hectare will produce an additional 600,000 MT of palay or 390,000 MT of milled rice.
Other areas identified in the Southern Swing initiative are Western Visayas, Mindoro and Palawan, Central Mindanao, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon and Zamboanga Peninsula.
The targeted 300,000 hectares of new rice areas are expected to be fully developed by 2020.