The Department of Agriculture (DA) has urged local government units (LGU) in Eastern Visayas to discover and develop new potentials in agriculture to address food sufficiency in the region.
In a statement on Tuesday, DA Eastern Visayas regional executive director Angel Enriquez said LGU must go back to their food security development plan and find out what is unique in their respective communities.
“There is so much to be discovered in agriculture in this part of the country. The entire region is not yet sufficient for rice, but if we can consume other crops, then that would help,” she added.
The DA said the region is only 93.43 percent in terms of self-sufficiency in rice, with its consumption requirement at 559,357,303 kg. and production at 522,592,723 kg, based on the 2018 rice per capita consumption at 118 kg. per year.
Among the six provinces in the region, only Leyte and Biliran are rice sufficient, Enriquez said.
In Leyte, she said one of the commodities that has so much potential is banana, with many varieties that can only be found in the region.
Meanwhile, along the corridors of Eastern and Northern Samar provinces is a tuna catch and other fishery products that only need facilities in processing for development.
“As (DA) Secretary William Dar said, unleash and unlock the potential of agriculture. We should not stop. The region is frequently visited by typhoons but there are technologies that we can use for that,” Enriquez said.
As part of its efforts to increase the volume of the region’s rice output amid the global health crisis, the regional office will distribute a total of 113,500 bags of rice seeds and 253,000 bags of fertilizers to eligible farmers in the region for the September to March 2021 cropping season.
This is under the DA’s Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), which targets to cover a total of 116,500 hectares (ha) of rice lands –96,500 ha. and 20,000 ha. for inbred and hybrid seeds, respectively.
RRP is one of the components of the “Plant, Plant, Plant” program that aims to address potential scarcity due to the global health crisis.
Enriquez said the region was allocated PHP538 million for the RRP from the PHP24-billion stimulus fund earmarked for the recovery of the farming sector in the country under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
Eastern Visayas is primarily an agricultural region with 157,632 hectares or 22 percent of the total farm area devoted to rice farming. (PNA)