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PHL increased rice, corn production despite El Niño: NIA

(File photo) Workers unload sacks of rice at a warehouse of the National Food Authority (NFA) on October 7, 2014. (Photo by Jay Directo / AFP)

(Eagle News)–Farmers have increased their rice and corn production despite the El Niño phenomenon thanks to the implementation of a farming strategy that maximizes water use, the National Irrigation Administration said.

According to NIA Administrator Eduardo Guillen, based on a Philippine Statistics Authority report, the increase in palay production due to the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) planting strategy was seen this first quarter.

During a harvest festival in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, this week, Guillen said one farmer harvested at least 12 tons of palay for every hectare.

Some farmers even harvested as much as 19 metric tons per hectare, he said, while, for some, a 969-square-meter of land produced 32 cavans of palay.

Corn production, meanwhile, he said, increased by 5.9 percent.

According to Guillen, the agency was able to irrigate 99 percent of the country’s irrigated areas during the onset of the dry spell, leaving one percent non-irrigated.

He said farmers planted high-value crops such as corn in the non-irrigated tail-end area to maximize land usage.

“And, then, ang aming pronouncement noon pa ay itong ating ginagawang alternate wetting and drying technology ay malaking tulong po para mapababa ang… mas marami ang ating mapatubigan kasi nakakatipid tayo ng around 30 percent ng tubig,” Guillen said.

“At sa ating experience, ito po ay tumataas din ang yield ng ating mga farmers by… ito pong AWD technology natin. So, itong report na nga ng PSA na ito ay nagpapatunay po doon sa ating direction at iyong tama po ang ating ginagawa at ipagpapatuloy po natin iyon, itong sistema na ito,” he added.

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