Jan. 11, 2019
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are working together to develop San Roque, Northern Samar as the country’s biggest seed production center which could potentially produce high-yielding varieties in 2,000 hectares of agricultural land.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the two agencies would coordinate with the local government of San Roque, a private company and farmers for the implementation of the Samar Rice Development Program (SRDP).
“The SRDP, which will be launched this year, targets about 100,000 to 200,000 hectares of rich lands into rice production areas,” Piñol said Wednesday in a statement.
San Roque is a poor town in Northern Samar, which is among the 10 poorest provinces in the country.
Once implemented, Piñol said the program would transform the poor town into one of the most progressive localities in Northern Samar.
“Under the program, a private seed production group will set up a nucleus farm of 200 hectares, establish rice seeds processing facilities and a refrigerated warehouse for the storage of the seeds,” he explained.
“The private seed production group will engage the farmers of San Roque in a seed production contract where the seeds from the farmers will be bought by the company,” Piñol added.
He said the program will be supported by the DA and PhilRice by providing the farmers with technical training, equipment and loan support.
“The DA will purchase the seeds produced in San Roque to be distributed to the rice farmers in the rest of Samar Island, including parts of Leyte,” Piñol said.
He also said farm-to-market roads and Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) will also be installed in the seed production areas of the farmers.
The SRDP targets to boost the average rice yield in Samar Island to 6 metric tons from the current 2 metric tons per hectare by 2020.
San Roque Mayor Don Abalon said the program would also bring in an estimated P600 million earnings for the local farmers.