The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the local government of Palawan has pledged to expand by 100,000 hectares are planted to rice under the country’s rice production program.
Emmanuel Piñol, DA secretary, said this will add to the current 59,000 hectares of rice farms that enabled the region to achieve 110 percent rice self-sufficiency.
The commitment for the expansion was made by Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez during Piñol’ss visit to the province recently.
The DA secretary said as traditional rice farming areas are now affected by climate change, the “availability of new rice farming areas in Palawan offers a relief to the problem besetting the country’s rice production.”
Palawan’s strategic location which is outside the typhoon path in the Western part of the country could be developed into a major food-production area, the DA said.
The DA said Alvarez sought assistance the agency’s assistance in addressing Palawan’s highly acidic soil that has kept rice production relatively low.
Piñol has asked the Philippine Rice Research Institute to form a team along with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management to conduct an extensive soil analysis in Palawan.
He added that instead of building water-impounding dams, the DA would introduce to Palawan the solar powered irrigation systems which will draw water from the rivers that it is promoting.
The DA chief also instructed for the procurement of more tractors, power tillers, harvesters, dryers and rice processing facilities for the region aside from encouraging local farmers to use hybrid seeds by providing them fertilizers as incentives.
It can be recalled that the agency is currently aggressive in its plans to consider planting food crops on various non-traditional locations in order to adapt with the effects of climate change.
One of these areas is Palawan.