Negros Oriental recorded an increase in rice production level at 65,549.16 metric tons (MT) or 12 percent in 2020, compared to 57,377.72 MT in 2019, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his year-end provincial accomplishment report, Gov. Roel Degamo said the province’s support to the marginalized farmers and fisherfolk remains undeterred.
Corn grain production also rose to 62,865 MT or 1.8 percent higher compared to 2019, with average production of only 0.86 metric ton per hectare, a government press release said.
Degamo said that under the corn program, the province purchased and distributed 312 bags of registered Open Pollinated Variety (OPV) of white corn seeds, worth P436,800, to 288 farmer-beneficiaries.
At least 136 bags of hybrid yellow and white corn seeds, worth P455,600, were purchased and distributed to farmers.
The governor said rice and corn seeds distributed to the farmers contributed to the increased production in the province.
He added that to increase the province’s food adequacy level during the pandemic, assorted vegetable seeds, totaling to 30,676 packs, were distributed to 4,098 farmers.
He urged residents to grow their own vegetables or food, and enhance food security amid the pandemic.
The province’s top vegetable production included eggplant, squash, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber that contributed to the productivity and food sufficiency of Negros Oriental, the press release said.
Degamo also cited the province’s hatchery project that produced more than a million tilapia fry that were given to 525 tilapia growers.
Tilapia production is expected to reach 112.63 MT, worth more than P11 million.
The Provincial Agricultural Office also produced and distributed 12,800 fresh water prawns as part of the hatchery program.
The province’s rural institutional development initiative also assisted 170 farmers’ associations with 8,200 members, 114 rural improvement clubs with 1,800 members, and 75 4H clubs with 1,500 members to augment the agricultural production.
The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, urged 22 cacao farmers to increase their harvest during a 16-week season-long Farmer Field School (FFS) on cacao production in Bais City, Negros Oriental.
The field school-training aims to equip the farmers with knowledge and skills on new farming technologies.
Sarah Perocho, agricultural program coordinating officer of DA-7 in Negros Oriental, encouraged the farmer-graduates to apply their learning in their cacao farms.
“The learning and skills you get from the training will help you increase your cacao yield. Despite the pandemic, you are still motivated to attend the training and that’s a good point,” Perocho said.
She said the farmers have planted cacao in a two-hectare farm, but Bais City alone covers 82 hectares of cacao farms.
Bais City Agriculturist Wilfredo Manila confirmed the farmers as graduates of the FFS after they completed the 16 weeks or four months of training held late last year.
The farmer-graduates, he said, took a pre-test and a post examination to check if they have learned from the training.
Farmer-graduate Lolita Academia expressed her gratitude to the DA for the support it provided to broaden her knowledge and skills.*