TACLOBAN CITY – The regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing a modest growth of 3.4 percent in rice output this year which it achieved six years ago.
DA Regional Executive Director Bernadette San Juan expects that production will pick up at the post-Yolanda months as their national government stepped up the distribution of high-yielding certified seeds.
“The prospect is very good because we flooded farms with certified seeds. We don’t have to expand our area, we just need to improve our yield,” San Juan said in a press briefing.
San Juan said that they project an output of 1.03 million metric tons (mt) this year which is slightly higher than the actual 996,000 mt yield last year.
The region has maintained the 990,000 mt level of production after it breached the one million mt output 2008.
San Juan said there has been an increase in the utilization of high yielding variety in Eastern Visayas following the free distribution of 63,000 bags of certified seeds to storm-hit farmers.
“After Yolanda, we just doubled the area planted with certified seeds through massive distribution,” she told reporters. Along with the seeds, the farm department also gave free fertilizers.
The seeds variety yields up to 3.5 mt of unhusked rice per hectare, nearly doubled than the 1.9 mt output for traditional seeds. A bag of seeds can be planted in one hectare.
Aside from certified seeds, the DA and private donors also distributed 5,000 bags of hybrid seeds. A hectare of farm planted with hybrid seeds yields up to 6.5 metric tons of unhusked rice.
The region has 185,961 hectares of land devoted to rice farming or 19 percent of the 976,385 hectares of farming area. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)