DA honors country’s top rice producers

The Department of Agriculture (DA) honored last Friday, Feb. 10, the country’s top rice-producing provinces, cities, towns, irrigators’ associations (IAs), and outstanding agricultural extension workers (AEWs) in the first-ever 2011 Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers’ Awards or ‘Parangal sa mga Bosing ng Palayan,’ at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), in Pasay City.

According to Agriculture Officer Norma Lagmay, the winners are composed of 10 provinces, 50 cities and municipalities, 8 IAs and 157 AEWs where the province of Ilocos Norte placed number one, besting nine other provinces in the country.

“The Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAg) received P4 million worth of agricultural projects, while the top 50 cities and municipalities and 8 IAs each received P1 million worth of agricultural projects,” Lagmay added.

The set of criteria used, Lagmay said, was based on incremental rice production volume and area harvested from 2008 to 2011, total funds allocated for rice production, number of LGU personnel deployed to rice production and other related activities, and total farmer-beneficiaries, among other parameters.

“In Ilocos Norte, we are lucky that Gov. Imee R. Marcos is very supportive to agricultural projects. For the past two years, the province reached an increment in rice production of at least 5 metric tons compared in 2008 up to the wet season of 2010 where the average production was only at 4 metric tons.” Lagmay revealed.

Launched last year, the contest, aims to recognize and encourage the full support and participation of local government units (LGUs), IAs, and AEWs pursuant to the national government’s goal to attain rice sufficiency by 2013, and surplus in succeeding years.

The rice achievers’ award is part of a campaign to promote the national government’s flagship Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP).

The 10 winning provinces include Ilocos Norte, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Southern Leyte, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur.

For 2012, OPAg plans to intensify its thrusts to increase rice production through continuous technology demonstration and adoption, acquisition of farm machineries, capacity building for LGU- AEWs, and train more farmers to adopt diversified farming systems that are applicable to the climatic conditions of Ilocos Norte. (Florante A. Nicolas, PGIN- CMO)