by Emily B. Bordado
Despite the below normal rainfall in the region since July, Bicol is expected to have an increase in rice production and harvest for the period between July to December 2015.
This is based on the crop estimates and forecast by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Some 202,923 metric tons of palay wil be produced or harvested this year, said office estimated, a figure which is higher over last year’s output of 180,296 metric tons in the same period, or a 12.55% increase.
Rice production increase in Bicol is attributed to the aggressive campaign and implementation of the High Yielding Technology Adoption (HYTA) Program of the Department of Agriculture. This program encouraged the planting of highyielding, early-maturing, disease resistant, and stress-resilient varieties of crops.
The total incremental production for 2015 resulting from the use of hybrid and certified seeds under the HYTA program in the dry and wet cropping seasons of 2015 reaches 25,081.80 MT.
Other timely interventions from DA such as water pumps, farm machinery and equipment, post-harvest technical assistance and crop insurance have also contributed to ensuring rice sufficiency in the region.
DA-Bicol Regional Director Abelardo R. Bragas said the office has already prepared a contingency plan for El Niño. Said plan involves the optimization of production in non-threatened areas, minimizing
losses in threatened areas, converting to other crops, and preparing for rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, intervention to mitigate the effects of El Niño includes water management, production support, distribution of drought tolerant varieties, insurance subsidy to vulnerable areas and seed production of drought-tolerant varieties.
Trainings, briefings, assessments and workshops with stakeholders, program implementors and LGUs, along with periodic monitoring will be regularly conducted.