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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, July 20, 2016
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NIR commits to produce
109,600 tons of hybrid rice

The Negros Island Region has committed to produce an estimated 109,600 metric tons of hybrid rice within five cropping seasons starting 2017 to achieve rice sufficiency by 2019.

NIR has committed this production increment under the Rice Productivity Enhancement Program (RiPE) of the Department of Agriculture during the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program Planning held at the University of The Philippines-Los Baños recently, DA-NIR OIC Regional Director Joyce Wendam said.

DA-NIR has allotted an input of P1, 455,000 for the free hybrid rice seeds and fertilizers, P99,167,000 for extension support activities, and about P238,000 for crop insurance. The department is yet to consult the local government units in both provinces for their counterpart, she said.

Under RiPE, Wendam said, Negros Island will plant hybrid rice in a total area of 119,000 hectares of irrigated fields starting the wet season of 2017 and ending in the wet season of 2019.

Occidental has a 97 percent sufficiency rate with an average of 5 metric tons produced for every hectare, while Oriental has only 30 percent sufficiency rate with 3 MT produced per hectare on average, 2014 DA records show.

She said DA plans to scale-up the average production of both Occidental to 7.5 MT and Oriental to 4.5 MT.

Negros has a combined total of irrigated area of 54, 648.87 ha from Occidental (40,114.4 ha) and Oriental (14,534.47 ha), she said.

DA-NIR targets to produce 11,000 MT in the 2017 wet season; 2017-2018 dry season (27,600 MT); 2018 wet season (21,500 MT); 2018-2019 dry season (30,000 MT), and; 2019 wet season (19, 500 MT).

DA-NIR, together with provincial and local counterparts, will lead the distribution of free hybrid seeds and fertilizers, with guidelines to be issued later this year, she said.

The department will also hire additional personnel including agriculture graduates and reinforce existing local farmer technicians, she added.

Currently, Neg. Occidental has 69 technicians and Oriental has 22, DA plans to expand the number to more than 100 to serve the region, Wendam also said.*KBC


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