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The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 3 (DA-RFU-3) has assured that there is sufficient rice supply in Central Luzon during the lean season.

Crispulo Bautista, DA assistant regional director for operations, said farmers in the region have enough buffer stocks of rice that could last until the next crop season.

“Here in Central Luzon, there is nothing to worry because we have sufficient rice stocks as our farmers have been reserving their produce during lean months that could last until the next harvest time,” he said.

Bautista likewise allayed concern by others that the directive of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol to put on hold the planned rice importation of an additional 250,000 metric tons from Vietnam might result to the insufficient rice supply in the local markets.

He noted that the country’s rice production in the first quarter of 2017 is higher as compared to the same period last year.

He disclosed that some 4.530 million metric tons of rice were harvested in the whole country from January to March this year as against 3.932 million metric tons in the same period in 2016.

Out of the country’s total rice yields in the first quarter this year, he said that Central Luzon has contributed 683,000 metric tons as compared to 641,000 metric tons in the similar quarter in 2016.

“So, based on that figures, we have 42,000 metric tons rice yields increment which is equivalent to 6.57 percent hike and we expect for more harvests in the next quarter because that is a peak season, specifically in Nueva Ecija,” he said.

Aside from favorable weather condition, Bautista attributed the improved rice harvests in the region due to an additional 9,000 hectares of agricultural lands irrigated under Casecnan dam project and the planting of hybrid rice seeds. (PNA) ZST

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