LEGAZPI CITY, May 29 —— The Department of Agriculture(DA) has recognized the local government unit (LGU) of Ligao City in Albay as a “national rice achiever” for 2016, the only one in the Bicol region to be included among the top performing 15 LGUs that contributed significantly to the country’s rice sufficiency program.
A post in the Facebook page of Ligao City said the LGU, which received a trophy and PHP1 million cash prize, won in the outstanding city and municipality category during the awarding ceremony held last week.
Officer-in-charge City Agriculturist Dexter A. Mendoza received the award for Ligao City while Mayor Patricia G. Alsua was represented by Ligao City Vice Mayor Sherwin Quising during the awards.
The other LGUs awarded in this category were Luna, Apayao; Solsona, Ilocos Norte; Santiago City, Isabela; Victoria, Tarlac; Pila, Laguna; Paluan, Occidental Mindoro; Talibon, Bohol; Hinundayan, Southern Leyte; Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur; Lala, Lanao del Norte; Hagonoy, Davao del Sur; Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat; Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur; and Valladolid, Negros Occidental.
The DA said the Rice Achievers Awards, an annual search that started in 2011, seeks to determine the impact of DA’s rice production interventions in achieving rice self-sufficiency.
The agency said among the criteria in selecting the rice achievers are increased rice harvest and average yield per hectare over 2016 levels, amount of budget devoted to rice projects and initiatives, number of farmer beneficiaries and degree of quality seed utilization.
Data from the Ligao City government showed the LGU has achieved a 143 percent rice self-sufficiency and 2.5 percent contribution to rice production in the Bicol region.
During the years from 2015 to 2016, the LGU recorded a 2.5 percent increase or 31,548 metric tons in rice production. The increase in yield was 5 percent for irrigated areas and 2 percent in rainfed areas.
One hundred percent of the rice areas in the city are planted to high quality rice seeds such as hybrid, registered and certified seeds.
In 2016, a total of 45 percent of Ligao City Agriculture office’s budget was allocated for rice program: PHP1 million for rice hybridization, PHP1.2 million for fertilizer subsidy, PHP 72,000-pest control program and PHP720,000 for inbred rice production.
The same data showed 10 agricultural extension workers out of 18 or 60 percent are assigned to implement the rice program which cover 3,229 hectares, including three coastal barangays.
Ligao City is also home to the PhilRice Bicol station that has given farmers’ easy access to different technologies, projects and technical assistance being offered by the station.
Aside from recognizing the 15 LGUs, the 2016 Rice Achievers Awards also honored seven provinces, four Irrigators Associations or IAs, three Small Water Impounding System Associations or SWISAs and agricultural extension workers whose performances contributed to the country’s food self-sufficiency program.
In Bicol region, 32 agricultural extension workers and five local farmer technicians were included in the roster of national rice achievers awardees.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the senate committee on agriculture, led the awarding ceremony for the Rice Achievers Awards that was held at the Philippine International Convention Center last May 23.
DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos, who was present during the awarding ceremony, said a separate awarding by cluster will be slated in June.
After receiving its rice achiever award Ligao City officials made a courtesy call on Albay third district Rep. Fernando V. Gonzalez, who has been acknowledged by the LGU for being “very supportive” of the city’s rice self-sufficiency programs.
Officials said the PHP1 million cash prize will be used to “further enhance rice production in Ligao City through its innovative and worthy projects.” (Gina V. Rodriguez/PNA)