Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo said there was an increase in food production, especially rice and vegetable, in the province this year.

In the yearend accomplishment report he delivered recently, Degamo said palay production was up 5.59 percent and corn by 5.49 percent. He said that in previous years, the province had a 35 percent deficit in rice production, so the provincial government implemented the Systems Rice Intensification program.

The first demo farm in Zamboanguita produced the desired results of more than a hundred percent increase in rice production, he added.

Provincial Agriculturist Gregorio Paltinca said Negros Oriental is now supplying fresh vegetables to neighboring provinces. He also said the increase in vegetable production was due to the continuous assistance to farmers of farm inputs, farm implements and updates in agriculture production.

Degamo said the malnutrition rate in Negros Oriental has decreased, and attributed this to the increase in food production, supplemental milk feeding and community awareness towards a healthy lifestyle.

National Nutrition Council records show that, in 2012, the province registered a 7.3 percent malnutrition rate, the lowest among the provinces in Central Visayas, from 8.1 percent in 2011, 8.4 percent – 2010 and 11.3 percent – 2009, he added.*MA