By Sheila Mae H. Toreno/DA-RAFIS 6
The volume of palay produced from the 196,570 hectares of area harvested in Western Visayas during the first three months of 2021 went up by 4.23 percent versus the production recorded in the same period last year.
According to Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Rice Program focal person Elmer C. Cabusas, the additional 4,235 hectares of the harvested area led to the incremental increase in the production volume, and a growth of 0.7 metric tons per hectare yield across ecosystems.
In the first quarter, Iloilo topped the national chart in unhusked rice production, which summed up to 355,040 metric tons. Although the area harvested had reduced by 377 hectares, Iloilo gained a 6.46 percent increase in production. The yield had spurred to 3.8 metric tons per hectare in irrigated areas and 3.31 metric tons per hectares in rainfed communities.
Capiz ranked next with 119,637 metric tons production volume however, its production declined by eight percent.
Negros Occidental got 77,550 metric tons production, Antique with 65,235 metric tons, Aklan – 22,794 metric tons, and Guimaras – 14,122 metric tons as per data of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Only the provinces of Iloilo and Antique posted positive growth in the production and yield performance in the first quarter. Cabusas said the production increase is because of the expansion of rice areas, particularly in Antique where an additional 8, 363 hectares of agricultural areas were planted to palay.
“The agricultural inputs, including quality seeds and fertilizers that were provided to the farmers, had influenced the overall palay production performance in the region in the first quarter. Another helpful factor is the good climatic condition,” he said.
On top of the regular interventions under the Rice Program, local farmers also benefitted from the free seeds and fertilizer under the Rice Competitive Enhancement Program (RCEP) and the Bayanihan’s Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) 2 which was intended to boost rice farming in the dry cropping season.
Cabusas noted that Western Visayas rice growers obtained 65,805 bags of certified seeds under RCEP, and 55,732 bags of hybrid seeds under the National Rice Program, Bayanihan 1 and 2 funding. A total of 162,425 bags of fertilizer were also distributed that further amplified the production volume in the recent harvesting period.