The government on Tuesday launched a comprehensive color-coded agricultural guide (CCAG) map that can pave the way for doubling rice production to ensure food security in the country.
“We expect rice production to double because of this map. If you are talking of 100-percent growth in rice production, just imagine how huge (its impact on agricultural growth),” Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told reporters.
Piñol said the map indicated there were six to seven million hectares of rice farms in the country, while only 3.9 million hectares of which were actually devoted to rice farming.
He said the color-coded agricultural guide map guided over 12 million farmers about the most suitable crops they could plant in their provinces and regions. They can then select the right crop that can produce a substantial income.
The map identifies the agricultural areas that are naturally suitable for 20 crops. It can be used as guide in investment planning, research and development, infrastructure and disaster management.
“It will also guide investors and big businessmen who would like to invest in agriculture,” he added.
Piñol said the government spent Php36 million to roll out the CCAG map under the DA’s project Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA).
“The data here is not constant because the soil fertility changes. We will have new hazards and risks because of climate change. So this is a work in progress, we will continue to improve (this) and through the years, hopefully, we will be able to add more data,” he said.
Piñol is mulling to set up information centers and kiosks especially for barangays to make the CCAG map accessible to more farmers.
For his part, Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said the AMIA would help the country adapt to climate change.
He stressed that the agriculture sector was the first one to be affected by climate change.
AMIA works hand-in-hand with the International Plant Nutrition Institute to adopt and enhance the tool called Nutrient Expert to assist farmers attain the best yields and income despite climate and disaster risks.
“This of course is not magic. The farmer still has to be proficient,” Serrano added.