Western Visayas was able to sustain its high rice self-sufficiency rate in the first six months of 2021 amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The region’s self-sufficiency rate for rice was at 138.73 percent from January to June this year, according to Department of Agriculture (DA-6) regional director Remelyn Recoter.
In the same period, the region also registered its highest rice production level at 818,600 metric tons (MT).
Recoter said the provision of free seeds and fertilizers through various programs of the government was a big help for rice farmers.
She also attributed the region’s high rice self-sufficiency rate to the government's Rice Competitiveness Enhanced Fund program, Rice Tarrification Law, and provisions under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws, which provided support to the farmers affected by the pandemic.
Capiz had the highest self-sufficiency rate at 186. 76 percent, closely followed by Antique at 181.17 percent, Iloilo at 169 percent, and Guimaras at 152.48 percent.
Unfortunately, Aklan and Negros Occidental failed to achieve the rice-sufficiency status in the first semester of 2021 after their rates fell to 96.33 percent and 87.19 percent, respectively.
Moreover, Recoter noted that last year palay farmers in the region harvested a total 2,295,580 MT, an all-time high rice output of its 10-year rice production performance.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the value of production in agriculture in Western Visayas was the highest from 2019 to 2020 among the regions in the country.
The agriculture, forestry, and fishing (AFF) sector posted a positive growth of 6.2 percent last year from its .5 percent performance in 2019, sharing 19.9 percent to the region’s economy.IMT