Aug 27, 2010
DAVAO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao has assured of rice sufficiency in the region. DA regional director Carlos Mendoza Mendoza said Davao Region is 90 percent rice sufficient, at least for this year. Mendoza, however, said that for this year, rice imports ordered by the department last year are coming. He said the stocks will arrive before the peak of harvest season. When asked if there are scheduled rice imports this year for Davao Region, he however declined to answer saying that the National Food Authority (NFA) is the best to know about it.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala earlier in a visit here in Davao City said he is targeting the country to be rice self-sufficient in the next three years or zero rice import by 2013. He sought the support of local government officials in helping efforts to open up more rice areas, plant more upland organic and fancy rice for domestic and export, increase production of white corn to ease the pressure on rice, and rehabilitation and maintenance of irrigation systems.
In Davao Region, Mendoza assured there are enough areas to be planted with rice even as he confirmed that more areas are planted to bananas in the region compared to rice. However, he said government is eyeing upland areas for its rice plantation expansion program. Meanwhile, Mendoza also confirmed that irrigation facilities in Davao Region need more improvement. He cited irrigation areas in Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental that have to be rehabilitated or improve to held obtain the rice self-sufficiency target of Secretary Alcala in the next three years. On the other hand, Mendoza is confident Davao Region agriculture sector can recover from the decelerating growth it obtained last year.
Based on the data of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) on Davao Region’s economic performance last year, Davao Region’s agriculture suffered a blow after its growth nose-dived from 2 percent growth in 2008 to 0.5 percent in 2009.
Mendoza said the growth reduction of the agriculture sector can be blamed to weather conditions such as the El Nino. He however expressed confidence the agriculture sector to make a rebound this year. He said DA Davao is expecting 5-6 percent growth in agriculture this year. He is anchoring on livestock and fisheries as the subsectors that are expected to perform well and pull up agriculture’s performance.
He identified good weather condition, numerous commodities or harvests, good technology, and good genetic materials that are instrumental to expand agricultural production to improve agriculture’s performance in Davao Region this year.