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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 15, 2018
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OPA eyeing rice yield hike
BY MARK L. GARCIA

 

The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will conduct more intensive extension work around Negros Occidental through its city and municipal agriculturists, to achieve the five metric ton per hectare mark in rice yield in the province.

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said yesterday that more programs for local agriculturists and extension workers will be implemented to help more farmers to increase rice productivity.

He earlier said that last year, rice sufficiency in the province was at 90 to 94 percent. He said yesterday that the average yield per hectare of rice farmers in Neg. Occ. is only at 4MT.

“This is much lower compared to other regions in the country. In Nueva Ecija, 10MT of rice yield is still considered low,” he said.

In achieving the 5MT per hectare yield, the productivity and sufficiency of rice in the province will also be boosted, he added.

This initiative was presented at the monthly meeting of OPA, attended by municipal and city agriculturists of the province, at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay Tuesday.

Apart from this, he also said that, in their discussion, he tasked the attendees to identify potential farmers’ cooperatives that will be part of the ‘Bigas ng Masa’ of the Department of Agriculture where the agency, through its Agricultural Credit Policy Council, will provide P40 million budget for the program.

Masculino said P20million of this will be used for the production of rice, and P20 million for trading of rice that should cost lower than P40 per kilo.

They will only identify one farmers’ cooperative to directly buy harvested rice seeds to be milled in the Rice Processing Center in Tabunan, Bago City, and sell it to the Bigasan ng Masa stores in the province, he said.

“This program will lower the price of rice by directly buying from the farmers and selling it in the market,” he said, adding that the loan could take up to P30,000 per hectare with six percent interest annually.

Ultimately, if the implementation is successful, they will offer the program to more cooperatives and open more Bigasan stores in the province, Masculino added.

The cooperatives selected by the local agriculturist will be evaluated by ACPC, the Negros Cooperative Bank, and the provincial government on whether they have the capability to implement the program, he said.

The Bigas ng Masa will also be integrated in the Production Loan Easy Access program of the DA, which is being implemented until now, Masculino also said.*MLG

 

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