The province of Negros Oriental has recorded a 19 percent increase in rice production in 2011, according to the latest record of the provincial agriculture office (PAO).

Records at the PAO show that in 2010, the province marked a 51 percent rice sufficiency while 2011 saw a 70 percent rice sufficiency or a 19 percent increase, said Provincial Agriculturist Greg Paltinca.

Paltinca is optimistic that the province’s rice production in 2012 will increase by at least ten percent.

Governor Roel Degamo earlier said the SRI or Systems Rice Intensification program is part of his priority programs to help improve the food production of the province.

Governor Degamo said at least 70 percent of the 1.4 million total population of Negros Oriental are rice eaters while only 30 percent are corn eaters. But corn eaters usually switch to rice during off season for corn.

The Systems Rice Intensification program is intended to improve rice production through organic farming technology. This is in line with the aim of the province to produce organically grown agricultural products especially on cereals, fruits and vegetables.

The province of Negros Oriental has vast land area potential for rice production especially in the third and first congressional district of the province. Some areas that do not have the access to irrigation are provided with seedlings on upland rice variety, Degamo said.

Governor Degamo is hoping that the 19 percent rice production hike will continue with the support and commitment from the College of Agriculture from Negros Oriental State University (NORSU). 

The municipality of Zamboanguita has already produced organic brown rice which is free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Degamo said they are also strengthening the information caravan on the production of organic fertilizers in the different Barangay Agricultural Development Centers (BADC) in the province. (PNA)