DA projects 15% increase in palay production

THE Department of Agriculture Thursday projected that  palay production for the first semester may reach more than 7.6 million tons, 15% more than last year’s harvest of 6.6 million tons for the same six-month period.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala made the announcement based on the estimate provided by  agency’s  Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

The DA-BAS said the increase could be attributed to the expansion in harvest area by 9.6% (equivalent to 174,300 hectares) from the 1.82 million hectares in 2010, and increase in average palay harvest per hectare to 3.8 tons (roughly 76 cavans of 50 kilos each) from last year’s 3.6 tons.

“We expect a good summer harvest,”Alcala said, adding that the country will reduce rice imports this year.

Alcala is optimistic that the successful implementation of irrigation system repairs, establishment of more post harvest facilities, and construction of farm-to-market roads particularly in Mindanao will all contribute to propping up palay production to a target year-end level of 17.46 million tons.

He also took the opportunity to issue his initial marching orders to all DA officials, highlighting President Aquino’s agriculture agenda this year and in 2012, and the Agri-Pinoy strategic framework that will serve as guide when crafting and implementing DA programs and services from 2011 to 2016.

The DA 2012 internal budget hearing and planning workshop was attended by all undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, and respective directors and heads of 16 regional offices, eight bureaus, 26 attached agencies and corporations, a dozen foreign-assisted programs and projects, DA-OSEC services, and commodity banner programs.

“I urge everyone to strengthen Philippine agriculture via the Agri-Pinoy strategic framework, and prioritize major programs on food staples self-sufficiency, mariculture development, livestock expansion, genetic improvement, disease control, high-value crops development, and strategic trading posts/market linking,” the DA chief said.

“Sama-sama nating baguhin ang kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan, at nang manumbalik ang kanilang  tiwala sa pamahalaan,” (Together, let’s improve the livelihood of our countrymen, so we can win back their trust), Sec. Alcala concluded.-D’Jay Lazaro

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