Fifty rice farmer leaders participated in the Department of Agriculture - Rice Information Caravan (DA9 - InfoCar) in the municipality of Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte on February 17, 2021.

The Inforcar is in collaboration with DA Attached Agencies namely; Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), National Food Authority (NFA), and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).

Evelyn P. Academia, DA Regional Rice Program Coordinator said that the activity aimed to encourage the use of Certified Inbred Seeds distributed by PhilRice, and the high-yielding Hybrid Rice varieties. She also urged rice farmer associations to avail of the farm mechanization program offered by DA.

The resource speakers from DA - Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC) discussed rice production management; how to increase rice production and lessen production costs, including pest and insect control and management.

DA-RCPC specifically advocated the proper use of pesticides on crops, and recommended the use of bio-control agents like Trichogramma Japunicum, Beauveria Bassiana and Metarhizium Anisopliae to contain rice pests and diseases.

The PCIC invited farmers to avail of the PCIC insurance program, considering the frequent visits of typhoons, heavy rains and floods in the municipality. NFA on the other hand continuously advocated the Palay procurement program, which primarily targets buying palay from local farmers for buffer stock.

One of the main concerns raised by the farmers was the low buying price of palay in the area which greatly affects their livelihood especially on rainy days. NFA reiterated that agency procures ‘clean and dry’ palay at Ph₱ 19.00 per kilogram in all NFA buying stations regionwide.

Rolando B. Barote, municipal agriculturist of Liloy expressed appreciation to DA for the conduct of the activity in their municipality. “Salamat kaayo DA for providing the information and assistance, this will help our rice farmers in cultivating their farms, to increase their production and also their income. We are always grateful in our collaboration to conduct activities,” he said.

DA also distributed 100 packs of Trichogramma Japunicum, 100 packs of Beauveria Basiana, and 100 packs of Metarhizium Anisopliae at the end of the activity.

The same activity was conducted in the municipalities of Polanco and Gutalac on February 18 and 19, respectively. As a safety protocol, participants reminded to wear face masks and strictly observe physical distancing in the duration of the program.# (Inelin R. Cabeguin/DA9)

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