The Department of Agriculture (DA) is positioning the Bicol Region to become a key player in the national rice production as the agency targets P6 million organic rice in the region's upland farming project.
According to DA-5 Regional Director Dr. Jose Dayao, the project will capitalize on drought-tolerant rice varieties and will be initially implemented in the river basin towns of Baao and Nabua in Camarines Sur.
Bicol's upland rice varieties have the potential for higher grain production and tolerance to drought needed to survive the prevailing climate change threats.
"Our development of upland rice is very timely as these varieties have the potential to withstand higher temperature and fewer water supplies which is what we really need amid the threatening climate change," said DA Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) director Nicomedes P. Eleazar.
Eleazar added that upland rice varies in the region has higher market potential than traditional upland rice strains since it can exceed the general average yield of one to two metric tons (MT) per hectare.
A comparative study conducted by the Bicolandia Greenfields Development Organization Inc (Bigfis), one of the project partners, also shows that some of Bicol's upland rice varieties have the advantage over DA's check varieties.