Ligao is national rice achiever awardee
By Lovella Guarin PASAY CITY --- The Local Government Unit of Ligao City in Albay won in the outstanding city/municipality category in the 2016 National Rice Achievers Search and received P1 million cash prize and trophy. Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the senate committee on agriculture led the awarding ceremony held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on May 23, 2017. The DA gave away over P52 million in cash prizes to seven provinces, 15 municipalities and cities, four Irrigators Associations (IAs), and three Small Water Impounding System Associations (SWISAs). OIC City Agriculturist Dexter A. Mendoza received the award. Mayor Patricia Alsua was represented by Ligao City Vice Mayor Sherwin Quising during the awarding. They were accompanied on the stage by Usec. Segfredo R. Serrano, DA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning; Usec. Ranibai Dilangalen, DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns; Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) national director Luz A. Taposok; and Usec. Ariel Cayanan, Undersecretary for Operations. Also present were DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos; ATI Bicol OIC Center Director Vivien Carable and DA Bicol OIC Regional Technical Director Rodel P. Tornilla. The City of Ligao was awarded in recognition of its important contributions in sustaining and increasing rice production in the country which is vital in the attainment of food security and increased farmers’ income. Ligao City has 143% rice self-sufficiency and 2.5% contribution to the regional rice production. It recorded a 2.5% increase or 31,548 metric tons in rice production from 2015 to 2016. The increase in yield was 5% for irrigated areas and 2% in rainfed areas. One hundred percent of the rice areas in the city are planted to high quality rice seeds such as hybrid, registered, and certified seeds. A total of 45% of Ligao City Agriculture office’s budget in 2016 was allocated for rice program. A total of P1 million was spent for rice hybridization; P1.2 million was used for fertilizer subsidy; P72,000 for pest control program and P720,000 for inbred rice production. Ten agricultural extension workers out of 18 or 60% are assigned to implement the rice program in the city covering 3,229 hectares including 3 coastal barangays. Ligao City is also home to the PhilRice Bicol station resulting to fast and easy access to the different technologies, projects and technical assistance being offered by the station to the farmers. Also included in the roster of National Rice Achievers Awardees were 32 Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) and five Local Farmer Technician (LFTs) from the Bicol Region. Director de los Santos said that a separate awarding by cluster is slated in June.