(Agri Pinoy logo)
(Agri Pinoy logo)

For producing more rice that surpassed their targets, attaining a higher average yield per hectare, encouraging more farmers to use quality seeds and employ modern technologies, and allotting more budget for rice-related projects; 10 provinces and 48 cities and towns were honored as the country’s top rice achievers for 2012, and received prizes totalling P110 million in project grants and cash incentives.

Secretary of Agriculture Proceso J. Alcala congratulated and handed over the awards to the respective provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, during the 2nd Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers’ Awards on March 15, 2013, at the Philippine International Convention Center, in Pasay City.

The top 10 provinces include Nueva Ecija, Isabela,  Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Bulacan, Kalinga, La Union, Davao del Sur, Compostela Valley, and Zamboanga del Sur.

The ‘rice achievers’ for 2012 also included 18 irrigators’ associations (IAs), three small water impounding system farmers’ associations (SWISAs), and more than 460 agricultural extension workers (AEWs).

The top provinces each received P4-million worth of project grants; the winning cities, municipalities and IAs were each awarded P1-million worth of project grants; the three SWISAs got P500,000 each of project grant; and the AEWs took home a cash incentive of P20,000 each. All of the awardees also got an ‘Agri-Pinoy trophy.’

Secretary Alcala said the contest, now on its second year, is the Aquino government’s way of thanking the country’s rice farmers and their respective provincial and municipal officials and AEWs for their continuing efforts and contribution to increase rice production.

“We initiated the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers’ Awards as part of the DA’s interventions and incentive system to encourage LGUs, IAs, SWISAs and AEWs to contribute their share in increasing farmers’ harvest and incomes, and subsequently attain national rice sufficiency,” the DA chief said.

For his part, DA Assistant Secretary Dante S. Delima and concurrent national rice program coordinator said “we will conduct the contest annually to give due recognition to the hard work and support extended by farmers, local leaders and farm technicians to increase rice productivity and incomes.”

The top provinces, cities and municipalities were chosen based on the following criteria: incremental increases in rice harvest and average yield per hectare over 2011 levels, increases over their 2012 target, amount of budget devoted to rice projects and initiatives, number of farmers benefited, and degree of quality seed utilization, among others.

The combined palay production of the top 10 provinces amounted to 5.34 million metric tons (MMT), which represents about 30 percent of the country’s total harvest of 18.03 MMT last year.

They produced more than their previous harvests in 2011, ranging from four per cent to as high as 54 percent. Their average palay harvest per hectare ranges from four MT (for Compostela) to 5.2 MT (for Nueva Ecija and Davao del Sur), which are higher than the national average of 3.84 MT per hectare.

During the awarding ceremony, Secretary Alcala was assisted by DA Undersecretary for operations Joel Rudinas, Ass’t. Sec. Dante Delima, National Irrigation Administrator Antonio Nangel and Bureau of Soils, and Water Management Director Silvino Tejada.