DA says Ilocos Region 189% rice sufficient

DAGUPAN CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Office in Region 1 (Ilocos Region) has assured that there will be no shortage of rice supply since the region is 189 percent rice sufficient.

DA Regional Technical Director for Operations, Erlinda Manipon, said all provinces in Region 1 — Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan — had surpassed the 100-percent threshold for rice produce, with Pangasinan being the third top rice producing province in the country.

“Despite our high sufficiency rate (in the region), there are still some uncontrolled movements especially in other regions,” she said in an interview on Monday.

Manipon said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has ordered local government units to create a food security plan in order to determine their production rate and the areas consuming these produce.

“The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is currently suffering a rice deficit, which is why the extra rice produce of the region in Pangasinan and La Union primarily goes there, although the primary focus is still set in Metro Manila,” she added.

Manipon pointed out that the country is 97-percent rice sufficient while the remaining 3 percent needs to be filled, thus the need for imports.

Meanwhile, red chili pepper, or ‘sili’, prices have dropped, according to a report from the DA.

Manipon said the agency’s September monitoring recorded a PHP400 per kilo drop in prices, contrary to previous months’ PHP1,000 per kilo.

“This price decrease is because of the high production rate. There are numerous ‘sili; plantations in eastern Pangasinan,” she said.

She also encouraged farmers to plant ‘sili’, noting an opportunity in the investment.

Chili peppers in the Philippines are being processed into chili paste, chili oil, among others, and are even being exported overseas, she said.

“The ‘sili’ is considered a high-value vegetable seed in the country,” Manipon added.  Ahikam Pasion/PNA-northboundasia.com