The El Niño phenomenon could have a negligible effect on farmers here at the moment as the province is still experiencing sporadic rainfall, especially in the afternoon. Nicolasito Calawag, chief of the Office of Provincial Agriculture (OPA), said on Wednesday that farmers were able to plant rice as there is still water in the rivers and streams despite the hot weather condition. ‘In fact, we are having a third cropping period because of the still available water,’ he said in an interview. Calawag said that some 15,000 hectares of rice fields in various parts of the province were planted during the third cropping period in January this year. Harvest is now ongoing, he said. Meanwhile, Calawag said the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seeds Distribution Program, is now prepositioning rice seeds among the local government units (LGUs). Custodio Revamonte Alpon, DA-RCEF seeds distribution program coordinator in Antique, said that they have already delivered 22,992 bags of certified seeds to 13 out of the total 18 LGUs for the first cropping period that will start next month. The towns that received the certified seeds are Sebaste, Culasi, Tibiao, Barbaza, Laua-an, Bugasong, Valderrama, Patnongon, Belison, Sibalom, San Jose de Buenavista, Hamtic, and Tobias Fornier. ‘Antique has a total allocation of 55,735 bags of seeds for the first cropping period of which 22,992 bags had already been prepositioned with the LGUs,’ Alpon said. He said that they expect the five remaining LGUs of Anini-y, San Remigio, Caluya, Libertad, and Pandan to make their request for the seeds that are being given to farmers with irrigated rice fields and registered with the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture. ‘For every one hectare of rice land tilled, a farmer is being given two bags of certified seeds for free,’ Alpon added.
Source: Philippines News Agency