Monday, August 17, 2009
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DA-8 unfazed by forecast of lower rice yield this year.
Tacloban City - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is expecting a 7.3% reduction in palay output this year in Eastern Visayas, making it the first negative growth for the past nine years.
Citing report from the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics, DA regional executive director Leo Cañeda said that the region might fail to reach the one million metric tons (MT) harvest in 2009.
“We expect area harvested to go down in case of flooding and damages from pests,” he said.
The report, according to the official, was validated by the local government unit and growing claims from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.
But Cañeda said he is unfazed by the forecast, saying that the DA-8 would still aim to overshoot the one million MT mark this year.
To avert the forecasted production shortfall, the agriculture department would step up the promotion of rice ratooning technology being piloted in Ormoc City and has been expanding to nearby towns as well as the quick turn around (QTA).
“I just hope the weather will cooperate with us,” he said.
During the first semester of 2009, palay or unhusked rice production was recorded at 518,174 MT, which is down compared to the same period in 2008’s 565,175 MT harvest.
From July to December, the agriculture department is expecting a 437,160 MT production. If minimal floods occurring in a long period will continue, the region will only harvest 955,334 MT of palay for the whole year.
Last year, Eastern Visayas provinces recorded a 1.03 MT palay output, the first time that the region breached the one million MT mark.
“This is the first time for 10 years because in the past nine years, there has always been an uptrend in Region 8 as far as palay production is concern,” Cañeda said in an interview.
The 2009 figure, however, is a little higher that the actual 948,827 MT production in 2007.
“It’s not a very encouraging forecast since the drop is 7.3% compared to last year but the decrease is lower than in Central Visayas, which is 7.62%,” he added.
Western Visayas , on the other hand, is projected to incur a 5% increase in palay output from 2008 to 2009.
In Ormoc City alone, at least 4,500 hectares of rice farm here are being devoted in the next five years for an indigenous practice of double hybrid rice harvest, the first technology application in the country institutionalized by a local government unit.
Rice ratooning is a technology that regenerates the growth of new rice tillers after rice harvest. The formation of shoots from the mother crop after the previous growth would mean additional yield after 45 days.
“We’re intensifying our campaign on the application of rice ratooning to be able to maximize productivity especially in irrigated areas planted to hybrid and certified seeds,” Cañeda explained.
In previous interviews with farmers who practiced the technology, they claimed that they gained additional harvest of 20 to 36 sacks of rice per hectare.
The DA regional office will also continue the implementation of Quick-Turn Around strategy- a high productivity program to respond with the exigency of abnormal weather.
“There is still an opportunity to avert the situation from actually occurring. This had happened several times also in the past. At time when we thought the total production would decline because that’s what the forecast said. By the end of the year, we actually able to prove that our performance remains positive,” Cañeda pointed out.
The agriculture department projected to maintain a 3% to 4% growth in regional farm sector this year that would drive to recovery from the bad impact of global financial crunch in the country.
Cañeda earlier said that they are positive of growth in agriculture in 2009 but it’s not as high compared to the past years considering the present economic condition.
By Leyte Samar Daily
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