DA de­vel­ops Sa­mar as new rice pro­duc­tion area

The Philippine Star - - AGRICULTURE - By LOUISE MAUREEN SIMEON

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.

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