The Department of Agriculture (DA), Iloilo City is advising rice farmers to plant rice only in irrigated areas.
DA regional director Larry Nacionales said “farmers should change rice crop on rain-fed areas so as to minimize and avoid crop loss. This is a practical advise, especially with the onset of the second cropping season”, he added.
Farms that are far from irrigated areas should not be planted with rice since rice consumes too much water to reach full maturity. The cost of rice production is very high and planting them on un-irrigated regions for the second cropping season would not be practical, said Nacionales.
“Instead of rice, farmers should opt to plant corn, root crops and high value commercial crops (HVCC) in non-irrigated farms,” Nacionales suggested. This is more economical and could save farmers a lot of money.
Likewise, root crops and corn have been proven more resilient and productive even with low water supply. Its prices are also stable in the market and could boost farmer’s income faster than rice produces. HVCC is also in demand as the third quarter of the year approaches, Nacionales pointed out.
He admitted that Western Visayas would not be reaching its rice target of around 2.3 million metric tons this year due to prolonged dry season. Still it would be enough to support the current rice needs of the region.
Western Visayas contributes around 14 percent to the national rice production annually. This time however, it will be lower due to low rice production. Still it will not affect the price of rice, considering the vast amount of rice stocked in the National Food Authority. /MP