Rice production of Western Visayas increased by 17.2 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year despite of heavy agricultural damage brought by super typhoon Yolanda five months ago.
Department of Agriculture 6 (DA-6) director Larry Nacionales said the region has a total production of 583,873 metric ton for the first quarter this year compared to 498,038 metric ton last year.
Nacionales said that favorable weather condition and staggered rain showers late last year enable farmers to intensify third cropping rice planting and were harvested this first quarter of the year.
He said that certified seeds (CS) and fertilizer intervention, fuel subsidy and cash for work program to the Yolanda affected areas also prompted rice farmers to till and utilize their respective farms early.
DA- 6 has distributed a total of 6,986 bags of CS amounting to P 8,383,200 while the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has distributed 9,698 bags of CS amounting to P 11,637,600.
For the fertilizer assistance, DA 6 has distributed 992 bags of complete fertilizer, 345 bags of muriate of potash and 160 liters of foliar fertilizer amounting to P 1,999,532 while the FAO distributed 9,698 bags of urea amounting to P 8,728,200.
Nacionales stressed that each beneficiary received one bag of CS and one bag fertilizer per hectare with a maximum of three bags for farmers with more than three hectares in affected areas.
The director also said that low incidence of pest and diseases from January to March and efficient utilization of post-harvest machinery contributed to the 17.2 percent increase in production.
The province of Guimaras got the highest production increase of 86.5 percent with the total production of 11,693 metric ton compared to 6,271 metric ton last year; followed by Iloilo 43.8 percent increase with 294,139 metric ton compared to 204,618 metric ton; Negros Occidental 3.4 percent increase with 88,750 metric ton compared to 85,859 metric ton and Antique 3.4 percent with 61,090 metric ton compared to 59,109 metric ton.
The provinces of Aklan and Capiz which were badly hit by super typhoon Yolanda got a -14.8 percent increase with 38,534 metric ton compared to 45,231 metric ton and -7.5 percent increase in production with 89,667 metric ton compared to 96,950 metric ton, respectively.
Nacionales is optimistic that Region 6 will attain its production target of 2,891,072 metric ton this year. IMT