Davao City aims to double rice plantations this year

Subscribe Now May 16, 2013 at 08:17am

The city government is eyeing to double its rice area to 4,000 hectares after achieving its target of 2,000 hectares area this year. Valente D. Turtur, acting chief of the City Agriculturist Office, said.

Mr. Turtur earlier told the local media that the city government is looking at "expanding in Paquibato and Marilog" as these areas have still vast areas for farming.

Other areas where rice farms could be expanded include Marilog and Tugbok, all in the city’s third district, which the agency has identified.

Davao City’s agricultural areas are traditionally planted with non-grain crops, specifically fruits and vegetables. Its grain supply generally comes from neighboring provinces from Central Mindanao. Mr. Turtur said the rice hectare expansion project is part of the program of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which has agreed to set up irrigation systems in new rice areas.

The irrigation agency recently set aside P1.5 billion for the Davao Region.

Mr. Turtur said rice production in the city was still low at four metric tons a hectare -- way below the seven metric tons a hectare posted in many areas within the region.

He added the rice produced in the city "cannot still meet its needs" of about 500,000 metric tons annually.

He said the city government must focus on the expansion program so that it can be self-sufficient in the coming years.

Two years ago, Mr. Turtur’s predecessor, Leonardo R. Avila III, said the government is also focusing at setting up farms for indigenous varieties of rice particularly in the hinterlands populated by the indigenous communities.

Based on the assessment of the government agency, there were about 90 indigenous varieties of rice in the city. "We would be looking at the qualities and characteristics of each variety," said Mr. Avila as the city government would choose from among these varieties it would propagate.

Mr. Turtur said the plan has already taken off as some of the varieties have already been selected and will be grown in nurseries intended for the expansion.

Davao City is the largest city in the Philippines in land area. As of 2011, it had an estimated population of 1,530,365, making it the fourth-most-populous city in the Philippines.

Davao is a leading producer of mangoes, pomelos, bananas, coconut products, papayas and mangosteen. Durians are also one of the most notable export products of the city and has since become an informal icon for Davao.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier said that the Philippines will export 300,000 metric tons of rice by 2016 amid of expectations of a glut because of the country’s import commitment under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Assistant Secretary Dante Delima, who is also National Rice Program coordinator, said the government will match, or at least narrow down, the country’s rice trade deficit for the next three years to prevent a possible drop in prices due to the influx of cheaper rice.

Source: bworldonline.com



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