Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, February 8, 2013 (PIA) – For the correct intervention given during the time when farms plants across the province were slowly wilting, Bohol now carries the responsibility of saving the entire Central Visayas (CV) region’s rice demand.
And while Bohol supplies about 70% of the rice requirement in the region, this year, it will have to save the whole region with its positive rice production sufficiency as other provinces slipped to negative.
It may be recalled that sometime between July to September of 2012, farmers started seeking Bohol Capitol intervention to break the long dry spell which had threatened to ruin agricultural production here.
The dry season only brought the usual 138 millimeter rainfall to 6.8 mm, cracking most of the farms and threatening to dry-up irrigation facilities.
Focused on its mission of supplying the rice requirement for Central Visayas, Bohol farmers and local officials agreed that a cloud seeding operation to induce rainfall and save the farms was in order.
Governor Edgar Chatto, who stressed that saving then the cropping season from the deleterious effect of the rain deficiency is immediate, immediately sought the Department of Agriculture’s help and through its Bureau of Soils and Water Management conducted sorties for cloud seeding operations.
The rains, albeit induced came in mid-August, just at the right time when plants have shown signs of distress.
Had the cloud seeding been delayed by a few days, it would have been disastrous, said Larry Pamugas, who sits as the assistant provincial agriculturist here.
At the harvest, while some farmers across the region would have to shake their head in despair, Bohol farmers feel differently.
All over the region, only Bohol posted a positive mark in rice production, Pamugas shared.
In fact, despite the compromising rain deficit, records from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics in Bohol showed that the yield increased from 231,569 MT in 2011 to 237,836 MT in 2012.
If you compare yield increment from 2010 (which had 191,000 MT yield) to 2012, it is 24%, and is so far the highest, Pamugas said.
The annual increase this year translates to a 2.71 percent increase, Pamugas, who also compared the data with other rice producing provinces in the region, points out.
All other provinces in the region experienced negative changes in average harvests, he said.
He showed that harvest yield in Cebu is .02 while Negros Oriental had -2.19.
Worst hit was Siquijor which posted a -14.32 decrease ii yield from 2011.
Aside from the timely rain-induced intervention, Pamugas also cites other interventions to farmers as the Rice Assistance Program for Institutional Development (RAPID) which puts in good quality seeds, technical support, inputs and fertilizers as well as other hands-on interventions from DA and the National Irrigation Administration.
He also cited the farmers’ efforts in taking care of their farms and the quick response that was available in terms of pest and diseases control. (30/ed)