Ilocos Region 181% rice sufficient –DA

By Hilda Austria

June 18, 2024, 7:15 pm

<p><strong>RICE SUFFICIENT</strong>. A rice farm in Ilocos Norte is seen in this undated photo. The Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday (June 18, 2024) that the Ilocos Region is 181 percent rice sufficient. <em>(File photo by Leilanie Adriano)</em></p>

RICE SUFFICIENT. A rice farm in Ilocos Norte is seen in this undated photo. The Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday (June 18, 2024) that the Ilocos Region is 181 percent rice sufficient. (File photo by Leilanie Adriano)

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The Department of Agriculture Ilocos regional office (DA-1) on Tuesday assured the public that the region is 181 percent rice sufficient.

DA-1 chief of field operations division Analiza Ramos, also the Development Management Officer, said during the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas forum hosted by the Philippine Information Agency Ilocos Region that the region’s supply will last three to six months.

“Even during lean months, the staple food which is rice will be available,” she said.

She said the region yielded 4.83 metric tons per hectare or a total of 1.9 million metric tons of rice from its 418,000 hectares of farmland in 2023.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), La Union produced 173,891.55 metric tons, Pangasinan yielded 1.23 million metric tons, Ilocos Norte produced 338,681 metric tons, and Ilocos Sur at 246,075 metric tons in 2023.

DA-1 regional executive director Annie Bares, in the same forum, said farmers were supported with seedlings and other interventions such as fertilizer discount vouchers for the wet season, quality rice seeds (hybrid and inbred), and fuel discount vouchers.

She said the region remains more than sufficient in its major food commodities such as rice, corn, mango, tomato, onion, mungbean, carabao, cattle, goat, and chicken.

She said the region is 254 percent sufficient in corn, 1,204 percent sufficient in mango, 391 percent sufficient in onion, 158 percent sufficient in mungbean, 363 percent sufficient in peanuts, 68 percent sufficient in garlic, 506 percent sufficient in carabao, 132 percent sufficient in cattle, 407 percent sufficient in goats, 130 percent sufficient in chicken, and 55 percent sufficient in swine.

Bares said the agency provides a technical support program to sustain the provision of production inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, soil ameliorants, and soil fertilizers to increase farm productivity and income.

Seed buffer stocks are also available during the occurrence of calamities or disasters as well as animal disease prevention and control supplies.

Bares said the DA-1 has established farm multipliers for goats and chickens and they support the establishment of school gardens, community gardens, and the unified national artificial insemination program.

Under the fuel subsidy discount program, some PHP43.3 million were distributed to qualified farmers and fisherfolk.

A total of 145.55 kilometers of farm-to-market roads were funded with almost PHP2.2 billion and built under the agri-fishery machinery, equipment, and facilities program in 2023, while a total of 25 infrastructure projects funded with PHP1.16 billion were completed and 66 enterprise projects worth PHP146 million were completed from 2014 to 2022.

The gross regional domestic product from agriculture, forestry, and fishing in the Ilocos Region amounted to 112.79 billion in 2023, which contributed a 16 percent share of the regional economy, Bares said.

Some 490,287 farmers in the region have also been registered in the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

El Niño damage, La Niña preps

Meanwhile, the El Niño phenomenon has left PHP387.13 million in damage to agriculture in the Ilocos Region as of June 5 this year, even as preparations for the La Niña phenomenon are underway, according to the DA-1.

Bares said around 17,000 farmers were affected by El Niño.

Of the total amount of damage, PHP339.8 million were on crops, PHP183.5 million on rice, PHP77.7 million on corn, and PHP78.4 million on high-value crops.

The damage to livestock amounted to PHP270,000, PHP14.4 million on tobacco, and PHP32.7 million on fisheries.

Amid the losses, Bares said the region's supply remains sufficient as the DA prepares for the threat of the La Niña phenomenon.

“With the La Niña watch, we are now preparing. Firstly, we remind everybody to schedule field activities so that they would not be affected by typhoons or weather disturbances. We told the farmers to use seeds that are water-resistant or could withstand too much water. We are also helping the farmers to fix canal lining irrigation so that the flow of water will not be hindered,” she said.

The DA-1 is also encouraging farmers who have not yet availed of the insurance of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation to do so, she said. (PNA)