To address shortfalls caused by dry spell
TACLOBAN CITY–Farmers in at least three provinces in Eastern Visayas have started planting rice for a “third cropping” by December, the Department of Agriculture regional office here reported.
Leo Cañeda, DA-8 regional executive director, disclosed that farmers from Leyte, Biliran and Samar have been planting “early maturing rice variety for the quick turnaround (QTA) program so they would be able to harvest before the end of the year.”
Cañeda said the region targeted under the QTA program 3,000 hectares of riceland, which could produce 11,000 to 12,000 metric tons of palay.
The recent dry spell particularly in Luzon has resulted in the shortfall of rice production, prompting the agriculture department to look to the Visayas and Mindanao regions to offset the extended dry spell’s adverse effect.
Cañeda has likened the QTA to “a third cropping season,” which is not the general practice in the region.
Normally, the region has two cropping seasons — the dry season and the wet season from May to October and from November to April, respectively.
“Farmers can plant until Sept. 15 and be assured of a harvest before the end of the year,” Cañeda said, referring to those involved in the QTA program.
He added that they might also tap Southern Leyte in attaining the region’s QTA goal.
He said prospects were “very bright” for the region to overshoot its rice production target of 892,000 metric tons this year. The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, in a report, projected that the region might hit 941,000 metric tons in 2007.
“So, instead of (the projected) 7.4-percent growth, we actually might achieve a much higher growth of 11.75 percent,” Cañeda said.
In 2006, rice production in the region grew by 5.3 percent, he added.
Cañeda attributed the continuing growth in rice production to the expanded implementation of the DA’s hybrid rice commercialization program and to the interventions made by DA, such as the use of Integrated Pest Management, introduction of organic farming, application of Bio-N fertilizer and the subsidy on seeds and fertilizer given to farmers by the agency.
“All these are helping in ensuring that the region is able to achieve a much higher growth figure,” he said