Western Visayas is gearing towards a 0.3 to 1.5 metric tons per hectare yield increment with the P1.06 billion allocation under the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The Department of Budget and Management has recently approved the P8.5 billion budget for the nationwide implementation of RRP.
Considered as the country’s third-largest rice-producing region, Western Visayas will be getting 12 percent of the pie where almost half of it will be used to boost the rice productivity in Iloilo province (Iloilo being the top producing province in Region 6 and top 5 nationwide), according to DA Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter.
“As instructed by DA Secretary William Dar, we should not depend on other countries for our food because there are indications that Thailand and Vietnam may not be able to export their rice later due to the threats of COVID-19,” said Dir. Recoter during the stakeholders’ consultation held on April 22 at Casa Real, Iloilo City.
As part of the DA’s Agri-4Ps – Plant, Plant, Plant Program also known as the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat kontra COVID-19, the RRP targets to increase the local rice production amid global trade uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
“We will be starting the distribution of seeds and fertilizer by May just in time for the irrigation release by the National Irrigation Administration,” she added.
Three subprojects of the RRP will be implemented in the region including the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Enhanced, the Expanded Inbred Rice Production, and the Expanded Hybrid Rice Production in Suitable Areas that will benefit around 210,000 local rice farmers.
A total of 359,756 bags of inorganic fertilizers will be distributed to RCEF beneficiaries to complement the distribution of inbred seeds covering the PhilRice targeted 179,878 hectares of rice areas in Western Visayas.
Farmers not included in the RCEF programs will be supported under the Expanded Inbred Rice Production subproject. Certified seeds for 15,000 hectares will be distributed to farmers alongside with 30,000 bags of fertilizer. Those who utilize good seeds or home-saved seeds will also be provided with fertilizer support of about 65,148 bags good for 32,574 hectares rice area for this wet planting season.
On the other hand, DA targets to distribute hybrid seeds under the Expanded Hybrid Rice Production subproject for 68,234 hectares. This is on top of the regular allocation from the National Rice Program covering 11,766 hectares. A total of 240,000 bags of inorganic fertilizer will also be partnered with these hybrid seeds
National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)-approved hybrid and inbred varieties suitable for wet season planting will be procured by DA Western Visayas while the national office is in charge of the fertilizer procurement.
Given the immediacy of the project, Dir. Recoter calls for the support of the local government units (LGUs) particularly the Provincial and City/Municipal Agriculture Offices on the information drive and in facilitating the input delivery and distribution to recipients.
The National Irrigation Administration 6, as a partner agency of DA in the implementation of RRP, has committed to providing logistic support in the hauling of rice seeds and fertilizer from drop-off points to various municipalities and assured the LGUs of the early provision of irrigation waters for this main rice season.
Farmers listed under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will be able to avail of the farm input subsidies under RRP. (Text by James Earl Ogatis & Sheila Mae Toreno /DA-RAFIS 6)