GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 November)– Region 12 is inching closer toward its goal to become “rice self-sufficient” as the area’s palay and rice production remained at the surplus levels in the last two years.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 director, the region’s four provinces and five cities are presently enjoying sufficient rice supplies after posting a 126-percent rice self-sufficiency level in 2011.
She said last year’s surplus production enabled the region to cover for its rice requirements and of other nearby regions in the country in the past months.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
“With the rice self-sufficiency level that we have at present, no doubt that DA’s goal to be rice self-sufficient is already an inch of our reach,” Datukan said.
The official said the positive turnout may be attributed to the continuous expansion of farmers into rice production.
She also noted the agency’s continuing interventions such as the distribution of various farm machineries to local irrigators’ associations, the holding of season-long trainings that introduced modern farming technologies to farmers and the construction of more irrigation systems that helped expand the region’s irrigated areas.
Data from DA-12’s AgriPinoy Rice Program, Datukan said the region’s palay production reached 1,244,148 metric tons (MT) last year, slightly increasing from the recorded yield of 1,185,196 MT in 2010.
She said the region’s palay production area presently stands at around 345,000 hectares and yields an average 3.62 MT per hectare.
Datukan said such production translated to rice supplies of 585,844,410 kilograms, which is significantly higher than the total demand of 466,201,780 kilograms of the region’s 3.531 million population.
The total surplus production was at 124,577 871 kilograms that summed up to 126 percent rice self-sufficiency, she said.
The official said Sultan Kudarat recorded a rice self-sufficiency level of 206 percent followed by South Cotabato at 125 percent, North Cotabato at 107 percent and Sarangani at 40 percent.
She said Sultan Kudarat province posted the highest sufficiency level because of its extensive rice production areas and lower population.
For this year, data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Region 12 showed that the region’s palay production reached 383,494 MT in the first quarter and 143,082 MT in the second quarter.
With such production, Datukan said a “forecast bigger than 126 percent rice sufficiency level is seen for 2012.” (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)