The Department of Agriculture in the Caraga Region (DA-13) has launched the 1st Caraga Rice Congress with the aim of strengthening the partnership of the agriculture department and farmers and other stakeholders of the rice sector in the region.
The three-day congress that culminated on Friday (November 15) was led by DA-13 Regional Executive Director Abel James Monteagudo and other top officials of the agency in the region.
Around 300 rice farmers, local farmer technicians, farmer leaders, and rice agriculture extension workers from local government units (LGUs) in the region participated in the congress.
Marisa Garces, DA-13 Rice Program focal person, told the Philippine News Agency on Friday that participants to the congress were provided with new technologies that would ensure increased rice production in the region.
Increased production, Garces pointed out, will guarantee food and rice self-sufficiency in Caraga.
Local farmer technicians were also briefed on the new emerging pests and diseases in rice in the country, she said.
Among the threats that the rice industry currently faces are the fall armyworms or FAWs.
“FAWs usually attack rice fields at nighttime. Our technicians were already provided with sufficient knowledge on how to control these pests,” Garces said.
She added that FAWs, if not controlled earlier, can easily damage rice fields in the area because according to studies, the pests can travel a distance of 100 kilometers in one night.
“So far we have no reported damage here in Caraga Region caused by FAW but we already have detected some rice fields slightly affected by such pest in the areas of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte,” Garces said.
Aside from the updates and introduction of new technologies, the rice congress also served as the venue to increase awareness of DA’s call for the people to buy local rice in line with the call dubbed as “Buy Local. Eat Local. Support our Rice Farmers.”
Outstanding farmers and extension workers in the region were also honored during the congress through the Regional Rice Achievers Awards (RRAA) and the 2019 Regional Gawad Saka Search. (PNA)