Negros Occidental is now self-sufficient in rice, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., said. For the first time, the province is no longer engaged in domestic importation of rice for the people’s consumption, Marañon said in a press release from the Capitol.
The province has been dependent on rice supply for domestic use on Panay and Guimaras provinces for so long, he said, pointing out that, for the first time, local production has posted a surplus.
Marañon attributed the increased rice production to the support of his administration to rice farmers through access to crop insurance.
In 2010, Marañon said the palay output of the province reached 436,308 metric tons, enough to make Negros Occidental No. 10 in the elite roster of Top Rice-Producing Provinces in the Philippines of the Department of Agriculture.
The palay output further rose to 471,599 MTs in 2011 with the province securing the No. 9 spot in the Top 10 roll.
“But we have a far more remarkable record in 2012 when the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist registered a 581,974.50 MTs or an increase in production by more than 23 percent,” Marañon also said.
“We made great strides in our agriculture programs. Neighboring provinces, like Capiz, are even replicating our Negros First Universal Crop Insurance Program. The agriculture department is implementing the same crop insurance policy in other parts of the country,” Marañon said.
The area covered by the NFUCIP had been expanded to 30,000 hectares this year under the Provincial Government-DA counterparting scheme, he also said.
Since the NFUCIP’s inception, the insurance firm has already released more than P4 million to Negros farmers whose crops had been damaged during their first cropping, Marañon added.
The crop insurance, he said, proved to be advantageous to the farmers that it has been replicated by the national government and other LGUs, like the province of Capiz.
Citing the benefits farmers gained from crop insurance, Marañon said that farmers whose first crops had been affected by floods and typhoons, received indemnities of P12,000 per hectare.
Negros farmers affected by weather disturbances received a total of P4 million from their crop insurance, he also said.
The provincial government has also embarked on an irrigation development program that benefitted vacant lots that were converted for rice production Marañon said.
In 2013 alone, he said, the Capitol invested about P150 million to irrigate 18 areas through the help of the Department of Agriculture that put up a counterpart fund for the program.*