By Kit Bagaipo
The Bohol Chronicle
Bohol's P15-million rice hybridization program was formally launched Monday in a bid to address the remaining 15-percent gap in the province's rice sufficiency.
The launching, which was attended by municipal mayors and key provincial government officials involved in the food sufficiency program were urged by Gov. Erico Aumentado to ensure abundant harvest to raise Bohol's rice adequacy to 100-percent by 2009.
The program, called RACER (Rice Accelerated Enhancement Response) will give P1,400 of subsidy to farmers in 15 municipalities.
The subsidy will be distributed in bags of certified and hybrid rice seeds.
In an interview with the Chronicle yesterday, the governor said that since the issuance of his executive order that regulates rice shipments to traders outside the province, the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) and the National Food Authority (NFA) said that the sufficiency level has risen to 85-percent, from a 82-percent last month.
Aumentado said, so far rice shipments have been limited to about 5,000 bags since the EO was issued and that prices of rice sold in the market has gone down.
Aside from hybridization of rice, RACER identifies two other steps to address the rice crisis and to improve harvests in the province.
The provincial government, through the mayors, is urging farmers to expand the area of their rice and corn fields.
Aumentado targets an additional 1,000 hectares by the end of 2008.
National Irrigation Administration (NIA) project manager Modesto Membreve was also instructed by the governor to fast-track the land-levelling program at the Bohol Irrigation Project (BHIP) Stage 2 service areas while water in the Bayongan Dam is still abundant.
Presently, the Bayongan irrigation facility serves only about 800 hectares of its target service area of 5,300 hectares.
The governor told agriculture technicians to determine areas only with slopes of between 12-18 degrees for biofuel production, those with 18 degrees for endemic trees to maintain biodiversity.
As suggested by Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera, expanding agricultural production areas can also be done by raising taxes to idle but arable lands. This is the third part of the RACER program.--
FREE 2GB Online Back-up: http://mozy.com/registration/free?ref=3f9a896b&kbid=39418&m=16