DA-10 eyes 94% rice sufficiency in NorMin amid COVID-19 onslaught

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–Notwithstanding economic backslide due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture in Region 10 (DA-10) stays optimistic as regard rice sufficiency in Northern Mindanao.

The agency is projecting at least 94 percent rice sufficiency rate this year, an increase of 12 percent target sufficiency from the preceding year.

The projection is pinned considering various mitigating programs implemented by DA-10 to boost rice production in the region.

In May to June this year, the agency is slated to distribute P407.3 million worth of farm inputs subsidy to an estimated 42,539 rice farmers in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Camiguin through DA’s Rice Resiliency Project (RRP).

Prior to this, DA-10 already rolled out the distribution of P128.2 million financial aid to 25,578 eligible farmer-recipients of DA’s Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) and Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers (FSRF).

The RRP subsidy comprises 206,320 bags fertilizer, 21,452 bags hybrid rice seeds and 58,986 bags inbred rice seeds for distribution to rice farmers regionwide. Inbred rice seeds are mostly funded by DA-PhilRice.

The RRP is part of DA’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 (ALPAS COVID-19) quick response measure approved by the IATF to address food security concerns amid the pandemic.

Considering favorable climatic conditions, adequate irrigation and appropriate production technologies, the RRP subsidy is forecasted to increase yield of hybrid rice by 1.5 metric tons per hectare and 0.5 metric ton per hectare for inbred rice.

DA-10 Regional Technical Director for Operations, Carlota S. Madriaga substantiated the LGUs and the farmers’ roles in attaining the agency’s tripartite endeavor to increase the region’s rice sufficiency rate.

“While DA provides the needed assistance, the LGU and rice farmers are bound to their roles, too. The LGUs are responsible in identifying rightful farmer-recipients, collect and submit documents needed by DA, then spearhead the distribution of the subsidy. The farmers on the other hand should put the subsidy into proper use and adopt appropriate rice farming technologies,” Director Madriaga said, elaborating DA, LGUs and farmers’ interplaying roles.

Key to the attainment of the agency’s goal are close monitoring and evaluation of the RRP implementation, strong partnership with LGUs, seed companies, and commitment of the farmers to adopt appropriate technologies.

“By increasing our rice sufficiency we will be able to lessen rice importation. This, in return, will help our farmers to be more prosperous and profitable” Director Madriaga accounted.

“Our end goal really is to be self-sustaining. That means we have enough rice supply in the local level adequate for local consumption,” she added.

While settling for 94 percent rice sufficiency, DA-10 is confident the region’s 4.6 million inhabitants will not be experiencing rice shortage.

The six percent offshoot of the target sufficiency rate can be filled in through rice importation and consumption of alternative crops such as corn, banana, sweet potato, among others.

“Our priority is to ensure that Northern Mindanao is rice-sufficient, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic holds still. For now, we are looking at expansive rice production by providing optimal farming support to our farmers in the region,” DA-10 OIC-Regional Executive Director, Carlene C. Collado said.

“DA-10 will be utilizing all resources on hand to help our rice farmers. With this effort we are hopeful everything will turn out favorably,” Director Collado auspiciously concluded.

To continuously improve the rice industry situation in the region, DA-10 will continuously provide farm inputs subsidy, farm mechanization support, financial and rice production training. (DA10/PIA10)

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