RICE PRODUCTION. Farmers harvesting rice in Bago City, Negros Occidental in this undated photo. The provincial government is eyeing various interventions to boost food production after the Department of Agriculture warned of a looming global food crisis. (PNA Bacolod file photo)

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government is eyeing various interventions to boost local food production after the Department of Agriculture warned of a looming global food crisis.

Provincial agriculturist Edmundo Raul Causing said he has tasked the two main divisions of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), which are the primary drivers of rice production, to submit a list of their plans and programs.

“We were given instructions by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to make plans and to take measures to lessen the impact of impending rice production shortage,” Causing said over the Provincial Capitol’s Radyo Negrense on Monday.

He said the OPA is set to present a proposal to Lacson that will involve local government units, particularly those involved in rice production.

“They want to work closely with us,” he added.

Considered signs of a brewing crisis are increasing farm input prices, wherein some prices of fertilizers have tripled, and prices for some poultry feeds have doubled.

Causing said the OPA has existing soil ameliorants and additives as well as organic fertilizers that can be used.

“We are also trying to revive the bio-nitrogen program. We have facilitated the use of decomposition organisms that can also bolster the soil nitrogen content,” he added.

He noted that food producers are facing critical times and the high prices of fertilizers are just not normal.

“This is the first time in the last two to three decades that something like this happened. We have to take measures, we have to help them,” the OPA chief said.

Causing said high prices prevent access to food for people who need it.

“I believe there is no real food shortage, there is only a lack of access to available food,” he added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier clarified that the country has a sufficient supply of rice, vegetables, and fish for now.

He said that the next administration must put a premium on cushioning the impact of the inevitable limitation of food resources, considering the effects of the pandemic and the continuing Ukraine-Russia conflict. (PNA)