RICE REVOLUTION. The town of San Roque in Northern Samar is poised for an economic takeoff with its agricultural sector as the main driver. Shown in photo is Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Piñol(left),joined by San Roque Mayor Don Abalon (standing next to Sec.Piñol), visited the town on Jan.5. (DA Photo)

Eastern Visayas’ model for modern rice farming

TACLOBAN CITY- A small town in Northern Samar could just uplift from its poverty situation with the modernization of its agriculture sector.
San Roque, a fourth-class town where 12 of its 16 barangays are into palay production, has been identified by the Department of Agriculture as a model for its agricultural development program.
And this early, town officials to include the farmers are optimistic with the program as this could help uplift the town, which has an income of P103 million in 2018, from poverty.
Town Mayor Don Abalon said that once the program will become a reality, not only the farmers will increase their buying capacity but will help the economy of San Roque, 28 kms away from the provincial capital of Catarman.
“The farmers will earn more.So, they will have more buying capacity and then they can provide their basic needs,” Abalon, in a phone interview, said.
“And then, if there is money circulating in the local economy, there will be more businesses that will come in and more businesses, means more employment,” the town mayor added.
About 4,000 families of the town coming from its 12 farming villages are expected to benefit the program. The town has 16 barangays inhabited by 33,000 people.
Under the program, about 200 hectares of land devoted to palay farming will be pumped in with modern farming technologies to be provided by DA, aside from the high-yielding palay seed varieties from the PhilRice (Philippine Rice Research Institute).
Mayor Abalon said that the 200 hectares were identified under the program are located in Barangay Zone3 (covering 50 hectares) and Dale (involving 115 has).
The remaining 35 has will be in Brgys. Balnasan and Bantayan, he said.
Eventually, all the remaining rice farming villages of the town, which has total 2,700 has. of land devoted to rice farming, will benefit the program.
The model farms are also expected to provide seeds to farmers in Eastern Samar and Samar provinces.
The program is expected to start in next quarter of this year.
Abalon said that considering that all rice fields in the town, to include the two model farms of Dale and Zone 3, are rain-feed dependent, solar-powered irrigation coming from deep-wells will be used to ensure a bounty harvest.
But as it is now, local farmers could harvest 80 to 90 bags of palay per hectare.
And with more interventions to be provided to the farmers under the program, they expect to increase their yield, at the average, of 115 bags per hectare.
Abalon said that they are thankful to DA Sec. Emmanuel Piñol for choosing their town as its model in agricultural development.
“I am not really sure why Sec. Piñol chose San Roque for this program but we are still thankful to him and to DA considering its big impact for our people,” the town mayor said.
It was learned that Sec. Piñol visited the town last Jan. 5 where he personally announced the plan for the agricultural development of the town.