DAVAO ORIENTAL – With the Provincial Government’s persistent efforts on programs that would help produce enough food to feed the province’s entire population, the Provincial Agriculture Office has announced that Davao Oriental has now reached a rice sufficiency level of 93 percent.
Provincial Agriculture Office Department Head Rotchie Ravelo said during the launching of the ‘Kapihan sang Kapitolyo’ that with only the remaining 7 percent to work out, he is positive that Davao Oriental would reach its target of a hundred percent rice sufficiency level by 2018.
“When Davao Oriental started its Food Sufficiency Program in 2010 under the previous administration, it started with only 41 percent rice sufficiency level which has progressed to 63 percent in 2012 and to the present’s 93 percent,” he said.
Ravelo attributes the significant increase of the province’s rice sufficiency to the Cateel Irrigation System, one of the biggest in Mindanao, which channels enough water supply to hundreds of hectares of farmlands in Cateel town. Implemented by the previous provincial administration, the big-ticket irrigation system has not only been able to significantly increase rice production but also boosted the income of farmers and the number of jobs generated.
“With the province catering to around 236,000 farmers all over the province to feed a population of more than 516,000, Governor Dayanghirang aims for a more secure economic situation by providing food security and livelihood opportunities,” Ravelo said.
Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang, whose present administration strives to continue and strengthen achievements in agriculture, has provided hybrid rice seeds to farmer-beneficiaries last year resulting to the increase in rice production. Based on the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Davao Oriental has attained an average of 4.50 metric tons of rice per hectare per year which has surpassed the national average of 4.08 metric tons per hectare per year.
He emphasized that planting hybrid rice has doubled the province’s production. “From the usual 3-4 tons, we can harvest as much as 6-8 tons with the hybrid rice, thus, would really add up to the annual yield,” he said.
In an effort to boost further the province’s rice production, Governor Dayanghirang and Former Governor, now First District Representative, Cong. Corazon N. Malanyaon have planned to put up irrigation systems in the towns of Caraga and Baganga.
In addition, the Provincial Government is also eyeing the establishment of solar-powered irrigation systems around the province, particularly in the remote village of Taocanga in Manay town. Solar-powered irrigation system which is being proposed by the Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to be put up here has been proven to be effective and cost-efficient way to boost crop production.
Aside from the Food Sufficiency Program, the Provincial Government is also keen on the implementation of its Agri-Industry Programs. “We don’t want our farmers to become just farmer producers, we want them to also become farmer entrepreneurs,” he said, citing the Provincial Government’s Programs on Cacao Village Plantation Model, Abaca Village Processing, Banana Village Program, and even Rice Commercialization Program, and High-Value Aquaculture.
“We are an agriculture province, we need to think of ways of how we can provide employment in rural areas – which is the concept of the development of the Provincial Agriculture Office,” he said.
ON DEFEATING POVERTY
With the Provincial Government’s active implementation of various programs aimed to make a dent on poverty incidence, Davao Oriental posted a dramatic decrease of poverty incidence. Based from the report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the province’s poverty incidence dropped from 48 percent in 2007 down to 21.3 percent in 2015. In addition, Davao Oriental is already out of the top 20 and top 10 poorest provinces all over the country.
“Much has already been done by the Provincial Government’s side to help the people of Davao Oriental. While 23 percent is still high, we are not letting our guards down. We still need all the support of all stakeholders to really make efforts together so that the 43,000 families that are still experiencing poverty will be reached,” he said. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan