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Cagayan rice production performance ‘improves,’ official says

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines-The rice production of Cagayan has improved this year, an official of the provincial government said on Monday, June 4.

Concurrent Provincial Agriculturist Perlita Lucia Mabasa said the rice production of the province increased from 3.9 metric tons per hectare to 4.57 metric tons per hectare.

Mabasa also said lands utilizing hybrid rice in the province have already reached to 75,000 hectares, covering most of the rice lands of Cagayan which is 130,000 hectares.

Over 93,000 hectares of rice lands have been irrigated, she added.

From 267% rice sufficiency in January, the rice sufficiency of Cagayan also rose to 388%, Mabasa said.

With this, the province has already been sending more than a million tones of “extra” rice supplies to Metro Manila and other southern provinces including areas in Mindanao

“Madami na tayong extra kaya pinapalabas natin to Metro Manila and it reaches as far as Mindanao areas. So we are proud to say na tayo ang nagpapakain sa mga taga Manila, taga Mindanao, at taga Visaya,” Mabasa said.

Mabasa guested in Cagayan Information Office’s Pagdidinnamagan: Kapehan sa Kapitolyo on Monday on the heels of Cagayan’s win in the 2017 Rice Achievers Award last May 30.

The provincial government through Governor Manuel Mamba and Mabasa received a trophy and check of P4 million fund for agricultural projects, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The Department of Agriculture (DA) conferred awards to outstanding provinces, cities and municipalities, irrigators’ associations (IAs), and small water irrigation system associations (SWISAs) for their efforts in the rice industry.

Mabasa credited the province’s farmers and their subsequent shift to utilization of good seeds or hybrid seeds as a factor in the win.

She said the national government was “amazed” with Cagayan’s innovation on rice production especially on the province’s “turn around” following the devastation of supertyphoon Lawin in late 2016.

Mabasa said the OPA has entered to an agreement with a private dealer of hybrid seeds to further strengthen the rice yield performance of the province.

She dedicated the province’s victory to all Cagayano farmers and promised that the cash prize will be used to aid farmers.

“Babalik din sayo, mga minamahal naming magsasaka ng palay, ang aming premyong nakuha because without you, we [would do] nothing in the performance and in achieving this award,” she said.

Mabasa said they are proposing to use the P4 million as a way to pay Philhealth cards of farmers, buy them equipment such as tractors or harvesters, or give farmers seed assistance.

The concurrent agriculturist also said DA wants to make farmers “business-oriented.”

“Ang gusto kasi nilang mangyari ay parang [gawing] isip negosyante ang mga magsasaka…magbibigay sila ng pera to [farmers for them to] manage aside from the machinery and seed assistance that [DA] is giving,” Mabasa said.

Meanwhile, Mabasa said infrastructure, roads, and bridges projects of the government help agricultural sector.

She noted that a lot of areas in western Cagayan can be utilized for rice farms.

“Kung hindi ka makapasok, hindi rin makalabas yung goods doon. Wala ring pupuntang inputs doon, they cannot reach the resources that the government should provide, talagang hindi rin magpeperform ang ating mga farmer kung hindi natin ma-reach sila,” she said.

Mabasa said they will join in other agriculture awards such as the Corn Achievers Awards.

Cagayan joins Isabela, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija as the top producers of rice in the country, Mabasa said. Northernforum.net

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