Palawan vows to expand areas devoted to rice production

MANILA-- Palawan has pledged an expansion area of 100,000 hectares for the country's rice production program, said the Department of Agriculture (DA).

"(The) availability of new rice farming areas in Palawan offers a relief to the problem besetting the country's rice production," said DA Secretary Emmanuel F. PiAol, noting the traditional rice farming areas are now affected by climate change.

PiAol said the new area is in addition to the island-province's 59,000 hectares of rice farms that have enabled Palawan to achieve 110-percent rice self-sufficiency.

During a meeting with agriculture chief on Wednesday, Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez also sought assistance by the DA to help address Palawan's highly acidic soil that has kept its rice production relatively low.

While Palawan needs more irrigation facilities, Alvarez stressed that these should not destroy the natural beauty of the province, which is a popular tourism destination.

PiAol instructed Philippine Rice Research Institure (PhilRice) executive director Dr. Sailila Abdulla to form a team along with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management to conduct an extensive soil analysis in Palawan.

He further said that instead of building water-impounding dams, the DA would introduce to Palawan the environment-friendly irrigation system, known as Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS), which will draw water from the rivers.

PiAol asked Regional Director Boy Santiago to program the establishment of the SPIS without having to build dams. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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