Wed, 11 Dec 2019

Expect lesser harvest, agri authorities warn

Philippine Information Agency
19 Nov 2019, 16:38 GMT+10

TABILARAN CITY, Bohol, Nov. 15 (PIA) -- With the El Nino cracking several rice fields in Bohol, expect lesser harvest and an opportunity to save every grain in this Rice Awareness Month.

On this, Senior Agriculturist Ramil Rodela of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) bared the trends in rice self-sufficiency pattern in Bohol which has drastically sagged from a past 100 percent rice sufficiency since 2010.

Even farmers in the vast rice fields of Bohol have lined up for assistance as cloud seeding operations hardly put a dent on the parched fields and the drought stretched longer than usual.

TECHNOLOGY TO INCREASE YIELD. Ubay Agriculture Officer Marianito Doydora shares that 65 Ubay farmers have adopted the RCM technology of ATI and are experiencing a 36 percent increase in harvests, which also translates to more money for the family. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

In his presentation during a briefing to the information officers in Bohol, Rodela said in 2010, Bohol attained 84 percent rice self-sufficiency, which rose to 101, 103, 109, and 108 percent in the following years.

By 2015, rice self-sufficiency still peaked at 106 percent, but at 2016, harvests were too low and rice self-sufficiency was only 63 percent.

When there were no available data for 2017, harvests in 2018 rose up again to 103 percent sufficient for all Boholanos, but agriculture authorities doubt 2019 would be a year with a promising harvest with the El Nino destroying already half a billion of crops.

As such, Department of Agriculture (DA) authorities are now back with their campaign to save rice and reducing table wastage in the face of rice shortage.

Facing the problem head-on, authorities urge Boholanos to help increase production, conserve rice, and reduce wastage.

The country is facing the problem with three prongs: increase production, reduce post production waste, and reduce table wastage, DA authorities spearheading the campaign said.

The Bohol Agriculture Office has identified the two key steps: improve yield and increase in area harvested.

Improving yield, which comprise 70 percent of the net harvest, has to do with the choice of seeds quality, irrigation, organic fertilizer, and research and development including the use of a computer based apps called Rice Crop Manager (RCM).

Field-tested by 65 farmers in the Ubay, RCM, an Agricultural Training Institute developed web application dishes out comprehensive advise to farmers when to fertilize and the amount at the right time considering the soil quality, according to Municipal Agriculturist Marianito Doydora.

As to Doydora, who monitors the use of technology in the farms, a hectare before the RCM nets 4,160 kilos which can go P87,360.

With RCM, the same hectare of rice field has produced 6,460 kilos and fetches P136,00 for the farmer.

This, Doydora said, is 36 percent increase in rice, he said.

By improving yield, too, Bohol authorities see more irrigated rice fields with the completion of Bonotbonot Irrigation System in Cayacay, Alicia and Imelda irrigation dam in Ubay.

The Agricultural Promotion Center (APC) of DA is engaging farmers to switch to hybrid rice, especially with the upcoming irrigation facilities becoming operational.

About 70 percent of the targeted increase in rice production is slated from here, while there is a parallel plan to increase the area harvested, said Rodela during a briefing at Reynas Garden and Haven.

Presently, Bohol has about 70,117 hectares of rice lands and produces 225,548 metric tons at 3.2 tons per hectare average.

In several irrigated fields, the yield is up to five tons, said Roman Dabalos of APC DA.

Apart from irrigation, the use of the right seeds contributes much to the yield increase target, Rodela explained.

As to Rice Technicians Reports in 2018, 41 percent of Bohol farmers still use their save rice seeds, 21 percent use good quality seeds, 19 percent use certified rice seeds, while only 18 percent use the high yielding hybrid seeds.

Increasing the number of hybrid seed adopters alone can significantly raise the rice harvests, Dabalos assured.

Amidst all these, the rice industry is facing tough challenges that include the dwindling labor force, limited land resources, rice area conversion, and the impact of climate change.

Over all these, while authorities are keeping tabs at increasing production and cutting post production losses through mechanization, it is basically up to every Boholano to conserve what could be scarce in the next few months. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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