The Department of Agriculture here has cautioned parents to never tell their children that ground soil is dirty when they play on it “to lead them to a lifelong love of nature, a noble passion to farming.”
This was expressed by DA Provincial Agriculture Program Coordinating Officer Bernard Limbaga who lamented the declining number of farmers in the Province.
Limbaga said the trend is worrisome as the younger generation no longer seems to want to take up agriculture courses in college or go into farming as an industry.
To address this, the DA is offering scholarships to students who are interested to enroll in agriculture-related courses to help drum up their interest in the farming industry.
The rice or corn production here is not sufficient enough to feed the 1.32 million population in the province not only due to the shortage of farmers but for some other reasons, the DA official said.
“As far as Negros Oriental is concerned, it’s not rice or food sufficient because only 17,000 to 18,000 hectares are rice irrigated area against our existing population,” Limbaga said.
Although the Province has 55,000 hectares planted with corn, 80 percent are in sloping land areas where soil erosion arise that reduces corn production.
In a Kapihan sa PIA forum, the Philippine Statistics Authority here presented the data on agriculture, specifically on the rice production which is recorded at 64,176 metric tons.
With the current population of 1.3 million people, PSA Provincial Head Engr. Ariel Fortuito said that an average person consumes more than 80 kilos of rice and 32 kilos of corn, or equivalent of two sacks annually.
In total, the PSA said the Province is not rice self-sufficient due to the increasing gap between production and consumption as well as the growing population and shrinking agricultural lands.
Fortuito also cited the inflation rate in the province which went up to 6.8 while the purchasing power peso is .88.
Fortuito said local leaders need to craft policies on how to address this issue to slow down the increase in inflation.
The forum marked the 33rd National Statistics Month that discussed this year’s theme, Boosting the Country’s Recovery with Informed Decisions and Policies, which emphasizes the critical role of statistics in crafting the most appropriate decisions and policies that are needed to boost efforts for recovery, especially after the CoViD-19 pandemic. (JCT/PIA7 NegOr)