Lanao del Norte, “The Land of Beauty and Bounty”, added prestige to its name this year by winning an award from the national government. The Department of Agriculture recognized Lanao del Norte as one of the top seven Outstanding Provinces in rice production along with the provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Viscaya, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Compostela Valley.
On May 23, 2017, the Province of Lanao del Norte received the 2016 Rice Achievers Awards at Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. Provincial Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Congressman Abdullah Dimakuta Dimaporo, 2nd District Representative of Lanao del Norte and head of the Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO), Letecia G. Ditucalan and staffs attended the awarding ceremony.
The Rice Achievers’ Awards aims to recognize the contributions of highly performing provinces, municipalities/cities, irrigators’ associations, small water impounding system, and agricultural extension workers in the national food self-sufficiency program.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, rice production grew from the 2016 output of 3.93 million metric tons (MMT) to 4.42 MMT this quarter with a corresponding increase of harvest area to 1.15 million hectares from the previous years’ 1.08 million hectares. Yield per hectare has also increased by 5.8 percent, or from 3.64 metric tons in 2016 to 3.85 metric tons in 2017.
Lanao del Norte’s rice production in 2016 has increased by 2.78% metric tons. In 2015 the production yield per metric ton is 173,586 and has increased to 178,413 in 2016 that gives an increment of 4,826.85 metric ton. In 2015, the province contributed 0.96% to the national rice production which increased to 1.01% in 2016. The contribution of the Province of Lanao del Norte in the regional rice production is 25.10% which is more than a quarter of the total rice production of Region X.
Good Climate and the favourable conditions of the country contributed to the growth of national rice production by the support of the DA for the farming sector said Secretary Emmanuel F. Piňol of the Department Of Agriculture. “This is just the beginning of greater things to come. All that we need to do is to faithfully follow the roadmaps we have prepared”, said Secretary Piňol.
Senator Cynthia A. Villar, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food points out in her speech that Farm Mechanization is essential to counter rice smuggling in the country. Farm mechanization decreases production expense particularly the labor cost. In the words of Senator Villar, “Kaya naman nabubuhay ‘yang rice smuggling kasi mahal ‘yung production cost natin compared to Vietnam, kaya it’s profitable for the smugglers to smuggle rice in the Philippines, kung pareha ‘yung cost natin walang mag ra-rice smuggling”.
During the Provincial Development Council Meeting last June 16, 2017, Letecia G. Ditucalan presented to the Council, chaired by Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo the issues to be confronted to sustain the rice production of the Province. The challenges are: Low Farm Productivity; Insufficient Infrastructure; Insufficient Pre and Post Harvest Facilities; Poor Market Linkages; Vulnerability to climate and disaster risks as well as the challenges of conversion of rice production areas to commercial, industrial and settlement areas and the challenge of the increase percentage of population growth rate. The goal of the PAO is “To Be Rice Self-Sufficient At All Times”.
The objectives of PAO is to Increased rice (palay) production in the province by 19% in 2022 or 178,413 MT in 2016 to 212,515 MT in 2022; Increased average yield of rice per hectare by at least 16% in 2022 or from 4.42 MT in 2016 to 5.11 MT in 2022; Increased and or sustained rice self sufficiency from 129.85% in 2016 to 138.37% in 2022; Improved Farmers Farm Productivity; and Ensure sustainability of the natural resource base.
In addition, the Municipality of Lala, Lanao del Norte also received the same accolade in the Outstanding Municipalities and Cities category. In 2016, the Municipality has reached an average rice production of 6.498 for irrigated areas and 4.905 for rainfed areas. The Municipality is driven to maintain the role as food basket, to sustain the title it needs to preserve the prime riceland in its municipality for the next years to come. PIO-LDN