By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The local government of Valladolid in Negros Occidental is pushing for rice farm clustering as part of the town’s initiative to aid farmers in rice production.
This was revealed by Mayor Enrique Miravalles in a press briefing last Monday, as the town joins the celebration of World Food Day slated on October 20.
Being the second rice-producing area of the province, Miravalles said the town has about 3,800 hectares of agricultural land. It also has poultry and livestock production, and fisheries.
However, he noticed that the sector of fishermen and farmers are usually neglected. “Pirmi lang makalimtan ang ining mga tawo, na sa kamatuoran sila ni ang gapakaon sa tanan,” he said.
As he emphasized the importance of food security, Miravalles said that he thought of ways to help farmers produce more rice in the town, despite being a fourth-class municipality.
Miravalles said that he would want to duplicate the rice farm clustering strategy being implemented by South Cotabato, wherein the provincial government extends subsidies to rice farmers.
He said that he would want the town to set an example to other localities by implementing such a strategy with the help of the national government.
Municipal Agriculturist Rosela Bayaborda said that they have conducted a series of meetings with various associations of rice farmers in the town, and many have expressed their support for the program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Under the rice clustering program, the DA will provide support to the rice-clustered farms in terms of hybrid seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, farm mechanization, and other technical assistance.
“This is a way to support and uplift our rice farmers,” she added.
Bayaborda said that a total of 2,491 hectares of land, which comprises 80 percent of the land area of Valladolid, has been planted with rice.
She said they are pushing for the inclusion of Valladolid among the pilot areas of the DA.
Currently, the town has community rice seed banking in Barangay Bayabas that produces local seeds for farmers to use.
The town will display locally produced products, distribute farm inputs to farmers, and turn over P4 million worth of goods to the 12 duly registered people’s organizations in Valladolid by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to mark World Food Day on October 20.