DA-12 to expand research efforts to increase output

January 20, 2015 11:46 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Jan 20 — The Department of Agriculture in the SOCCSKSARGEN region said today it will strengthen its research and development programs to further increase rice production and other agricultural crops.

Amalia Jayag Datukan, DA-12 regional executive director, said the move was in line with the directive of Agriculture Sec. Proseso Alcala.

Datukan quoted the agriculture secretary as saying that this year, the agriculture department will also intensify the commercialization of diversified and integrated rice-based farming systems such as 'Palayamanan' to enable farmers increase productivity and incomes.

Under the 'Palayamanan project,' farmers are taught to combine rice growing with the cultivation of vegetables and other high value crops, as well as fish and livestock raising.

Through this project, rice farmers will also become producers of vegetables and other high value crops while waiting for the harvest season.

Datukan said DA is promoting the technology through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and National Rice Program.

Rice production in the Philippines has been on the uptrend for the past three years with Region 12 contributing a huge chunk of the country's rice production.

The PhilRice reported that between 2010 and 2013, milled rice production grew by an average of 4.04 percent.

In 2014, palay harvest was projected to reach 18.88 million metric tons (MT), 2.4 percent bigger than the 2013 record output of 18.44 million MT.

In a statement released by DA-12, Alcala said the entire country owes this to the farmers who tirelessly worked to lead the country towards greater rice sufficiency and increased food security.

"We could not have reached these milestones without the farmers and without prompt and proper intervention from the government. Never before has the Philippines had this increment in rice," Alcala said.

DA is also banking on its current partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in support of the government’s food security blueprint called the Food Staples Sufficiency Program.

Under the agreement, DA and IRRI work together to produce and distribute high-quality and improved rice seeds that are adaptable to climate change. In addition, best agricultural practices and other support tools will be disseminated, including skills-training for extension and field workers.

“The Department also intends to engage in profiling, finger printing and purification of traditional varieties with export potentials,” Alcala said.

He added, regional or provincial location specific technology development and adaptive studies for irrigated, rain-fed and upland ecosystem, is also included in the DA’s agenda.

Participatory varietal selection for favorable and adverse environment is included in the DA’s expanded R&D agenda for rice.

The DA will also enhance rice research capability and capacity, which includes improving and increasing facilities, equipment and manpower.

Region 12 composed of the rice producing provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Saranggani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Koronadal, Tacurong and Gen. Santos, is considered the rice granary of Mindanao. (PNA)



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