Central Luzon remains number one in rice production, other agri commodities

Central Luzon is still the country’s rice granary.

It contributed 18 percent to the total national production with 3.63 million metric tons in 2023.

During the fourth episode of the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas of the Philippine Information Agency, DA OIC-Regional Executive Director Eduardo Lapuz Jr. disclosed that the region is also number one in onion production contributing 55 percent to the national output last year.

It likewise leads in the production of chicken meat with 34 percent contribution to the national output, duck meat with 28 percent, and duck eggs with 55 percent.

For 2024, DA Central Luzon has secured a budget of P9.04 billion for various programs and projects, with a significant 60.95 percent allocated to the rice program. 

“A substantial part of our budget, over P2 billion, will also support farm-to-market road (FMR) projects and other locally funded initiatives,” Lapuz stated.

In 2023, the agency’s Production Support Services distributed P2.22 billion worth of seeds to 91,559 farmers across 158 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs). 

Fertilizer distribution, amounting to P931.52 million, benefited 363,408 farmers in 43 FCAs.

Additionally, P3 million worth of other planting materials and P6.17 million worth of animals were distributed, supporting numerous FCAs.

Lapuz also emphasized the provision of agricultural machinery and equipment totaling P249.79 million, benefiting 448 FCAs. 

This included 1,657 units of farm production-related machinery, postharvest machinery, and facilities. 

“We also invested P78.06 million in irrigation network services, benefiting 329 FCAs in the region,” he added. 

Moreover, DA constructed 56 FMR projects in 2023, covering 112.38 kilometers and costing P1.35 billion. 

These projects, funded by DA and implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways, have significantly improved rural infrastructure.

The Philippine Rural Development Project also made significant progress in Central Luzon. 

“Under the Investments for Rural Enterprises, and Agricultural and Fisheries Productivity or I-REAP component, we implemented P673 million worth of projects, benefiting 174 FCAs,” Lapuz shared. 

The Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development or I-BUILD component saw investments of P2.19 billion, improving the lives of 76,613 households.

Farmers from various FCAs expressed their gratitude for the support received. 

Tabon, San Jose Farmers Association Chairperson Marlene Bernardino from San Luis, Pampanga praised the interventions provided by the high value crops program. 

“The vegetable seeds, machinery, and equipment have helped us overcome challenges posed by climate change and fluctuating prices,” she said.

Nueva Ecija farmer Arnel Serrano, on the other hand, benefited from the Custom Service Facility for Onion-Based Farmers. 

“We now pay cheaper fees for using tractors from the cooperative, and we can pay after harvest. This has saved us money and effort,” he shared.

With these accomplishments and plans, DA Central Luzon aims to boost production to ensure a sufficient supply of staple foods and enhance the livelihood of farmers in the coming years. (CLJD/RPQ, PIA Region 3- Pampanga)

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