• Western Visayas takes steps to bolster rice production

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    ILOILO CITY: With the advent of the rainy season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas has adopted several intervention schemes aimed to increase rice production and establish anew the region’s supremacy as a top rice producing area in the country.

    Agriculture Regional Director Larry Nacionales said the scheme involves the cooperation of other government agencies and institutions to increase production as the country is celebrating the Year of the Rice.

    In 2013, the region set a target of 2.6 million metric tons to contribute to the total 200 million metric ton expected production in the Philippines. The region is also increasing its target from 3.5 metric tons per hectare of yield to four metric tons with this year’s production of 95 to 100 cavans per hectare.

    Nacionales said a recent memorandum of agreement forged between the DA, Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration will focus on the convergence program to provide livelihood opportunities and rural enterprises for overseas Filipino workers.

    The overseas Filipino workers will be engaged in agro-machineries and organic agriculture with a P1 billion seed capital from the Land Bank of the Philippines.

    Another scheme focuses on the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) with partnership between the DA, Department of Agrarian Reform and Land Bank of the Philippines in three provinces of the region namely Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Capiz.

    The program has a P200 million funding for ARBs to use and increase their production.

    Another partnership is between the DA, National Irrigation Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines for farmers to avail of soft loan under the Sikat Saka program covering 20 provinces including Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz and Negros Occidental.

    Lydia C. Pendon

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