‘Rice supply enough despite pest attack’

By FELIPE V. CELINO 

ROXAS City – Rice supply in Capiz is still sufficient despite the recent infestation of waya-waya or plant hoppers on rice fields, according to Provincial Agriculturist Sylvia dela Cruz.

She said the province can still come up with an average of 370,000 metric tons of annual rice production from about 50,000 hectares of rice lands.

Specifically, a total of 46,898.66 hectares of lands are planted with rice — 16,087.75 hectares of which are in the 1st District and 30,810.91 hectares in the 2nd District.

Of the total area, 8,466 hectares — 18 percent of rice plantations in the province — have been affected by brown plant hoppers.

Of the affected area, 3,919.13 hectares were totally destroyed, according to the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office (PAO).

A PAO representative said the infestation was due to the long dry spell which was followed by the rainy season on July.

However, dela Cruz said, a pest outbreak cannot be declared with only 18 percent of the rice fields affected.

It can only be done when more than 20 percent of the rice fields are destroyed, she added.

Recently, the provincial government formed Task Force Waya-waya to initiate mitigating measures in preventing and controlling the infestation.

Gov. Victor Tanco Sr. is the Task Force’s chair while dela Cruz is the vice chair.

Mitigating measures include preparation and distribution of pest situation advisory to local government units and other stakeholders; conduct of agricultural stakeholders’ awareness forum on brown plant hopper infestation; and provision of assistance/pesticides to affected municipalities./PN