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DA eyes 94% rice sufficiency in Northern Mindanao despite pandemic

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The Department of Agriculture in Region 10 (DA-10) expressed optimism Friday, May 22, that it could still attain its target of 94 percent rice sufficiency rate this year in Northern Mindanao despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The target this year is 12 percent higher from the preceding year.

The projection is pinned considering various mitigating programs implemented by DA-10 to boost rice production in the region, said DA-10 Regional Technical Director for Operations, Carlota S. Madriaga.

In May to June this year, the official said the DA 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 its 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 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 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to address food security concerns amid the pandemic.

Considering favorable climatic condition, 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.

“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” Madriaga said.

“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.

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