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Philippines To Boost Rice Production
The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) is boosting rice production by implementing seven planting seasons in the next three years, thus helping the country to become 95 per cent self-sufficient in the commodity by 2010.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on Wednesday said that to further sustain the government's self-sufficiency goal, the DA sees that it has to implement additional rice cropping periods in some areas of the country.

My demand for our regional executive directors is that, give me seven extra cropping seasons starting the dry season of 2008 until 2010," he said.

Yap said the DA will soon identify key areas where these additional cropping periods can be implemented.

He also instructed Director Frisco Malabanan of Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Rice Program to start the planning on the said seven cropping seasons for the next three years.

"We have to talk quickly to our seed producers so that they can come up with better or high-yielding varieties of seeds, and we should also advise our organic fertilizer producers to manufacture early," Yap noted.

After September 15, Yap said DA officials will start to meet to tackle plan of putting in additional seven cropping seasons until 2010.

"That's why the sustained four-year program should be continuously implemented until we meet our target of 95 per cent self-sufficiency in rice by 2010," he stressed.

Yap likewise appealed to legislators and to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pass as early as possible the budget because DA needs the funds for its projects.

Malabanan earlier said the DA aims to increase the national palay production from 15.33 million metric tons (MT) in 2006 to 16.23 million MT or a 5.87 per cent growth this year.

For 2008, he said there would be seven cropping seasons because of two regular croppings, wet and dry seasons, and quick turn around (QTA) planting. Same with the year 2009 and for 2010 with only one dry season.

Malabanan said the GMA Rice Program will also continue to provide financial assistance aid to palay farmers at P1,000 per 20 kilograms for hybrid seeds, and P440 per 40 kilograms of certified seeds covering 600,000 hectares of rainfed-lowland areas.

This year, he said the GMA Rice Program is targeting a total of 400,000 hectares planted to hybrid rice, and expects this figure to swell to 600,000 hectares by 2010.

In 2006, around 225,371 and 93,906 hectares were planted to hybrid rice during the dry and wet seasons, respectively.
MGR Archive 16.9.2007
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