By Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-Bohol | 01:12 PM November 18, 2019
TABILARAN CITY, Bohol—With the El Niño cracking several rice fields in Bohol, expect lesser harvest and to the opportunity to save every grain, in this Rice Awareness Month.
On this, Senior Agriculturist Ramil Rodela of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture bared the trends in rice self-sufficiency pattern in Bohol which has drastically sagged from a past 100% rice sufficiency since 2010.
In fact, even farmers in the vast rice fields of Bohol have lined up for aids as cloud seeding operations hardly dent on the parched fields and the drought stretched longer than usual.
In his presentation during a briefing to the Information Officers in Bohol, Rodela said in 2010, Bohol attained 84% rice self-sufficiency, which rose to 101, 103, 109 and 108 in the next years.
By 2015, rice self-sufficiency still peaked at 106%, but at 2016, harvests were too low rice self-sufficiency was only 63%.
When there were no available data or 2017, harvests in 2018 rose up again to 103% sufficient for all Boholanos, but agriculture authorities doubt 2019 would be a year with a promising harvest with the El Nino destroying already half a billion of crops.
As such, Department of Agriculture authorities are now back in campaigning in saving rice and reducing table wastage, in the face of rice shortage.
Facing the problem head-on, authorities urge Boholanos then to help increase production, conserve rice, and reduce wastage.
We are facing the problem with three prongs: increase production, reduce post production waste and reduce tables wastage, DA authorities spearheading the campaign said.
Here, Bohol Agriculture Office has identified the two key steps: improve yield and increase in area harvested.
Improving yield, which comprise 70% of the net harvest has to do with the choice of seeds quality, irrigation, organic fertilizer and research and development including the use of a computer based apps called Rice Crop Manager (RCM).
Field–tested by 65 farmers in the Ubay, RCM, an Agricultural Training Institute developed web applications dish out comprehensive advise to farmers when to fertilize and the amount at the right time considering the soil quality, according to Municipal Agriculturist Marianito Doydora.
As to Doydora, who monitors the use of technology in the farms, a hectare before the RCM nets 4,160 kilos which can go P87,360.00.
With RCM, the same hectare of rice field has produced 6,460 kilos and fetches P136,00 for the farmer.
This, Doydora said, is 36% increase in rice, he said.
By improving yield too, Bohol authorities see more irrigate rice fields with the completion of Bonotbonot Irrigation System, Cayacay Alicia and Imelda irrigation dam in Ubay.
The Agricultural Promotion Center of the DA is on to engaging farmers to switch to hybrid rice, especially with the upcoming irrigation facilities becoming operational.
About 70% of the targeted increase in rice production is slated from here, while there is a parallel plan to increase the area harvested, remarked Rodela during a briefing at Reynas Garden and Haven.
Presently, Bohol has about 70, 117 hectares of rice lands and produces 225,548 metric tons at 3.2 tons per hectare average. In several irrigated fields, the yield is up to 5 tons, reports APC DA Roman Dabalos.
Apart from irrigation, the use of the right seeds contributes much to the yield increase target, Rodela explained.
As to Rice Technicians Reports in 2018, 41% of Bohol farmers still use their save rice seeds, 21% use good quality seeds, 19% use certified rice seeds while only 18% use the high yielding hybrid seeds.
Increasing the number of hybrid seed adopters alone can significantly raise the rice harvests, Dabalos assured.
Amidst all these, the rice industry is facing tough challenges that include the dwindling labor force, limited land resources, rice are conversion and the impacts of climate change.
Over all these, while authorities are keeping tabs at increasing production and cutting post production losses through mechanization, its is basically up to every Boholano to conserve what could be scarce in the next few months.