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Reg'l Executive Director

In a year dominated by the aggressive promotion of the hybrid rice technology, it goes without saying that our region’s agricultural performance during the period should be vetted against our accomplishments in the rice sector. If it were so, then it can be said that our collective effort last year did not go  unrewarded: the region  finally  attained  a  self-sufficiency status in rice, just as we have committed to do and without sidetracking our priority initiatives in the other sectors.  The region’s total agricultural output, in fact, climbed by 6.7 percent, surpassing the 3.8 percent comparable level for the whole country. Indeed, nothing can compare with the joy of making – and fulfilling – a promise!

Much of the credit should go to the farmers themselves who, together with their respective LGU leadership, pushed to unparalleled heights the adoption of certified inbred and hybrid rice – greatly aided by the generally favorable weather condition and continuing advocacies on proper farm management and disease control. The rice black bug infestation, for one, has been significantly brought down to a non-damaging level.

We also recognize our congressional leaders for their much needed infrastructure support via the various postharvest facilities and equipment delivered to our farmers.

On the production support front, we have capitalized on the breakthrough of producing disease-free banana plantlets thru tissue culture using in-vitro technique. Likewise, we succeeded in our efforts to minimize the infestation of bugtok in banana and bunchy top in abaca through our massive information campaign and provision of technical assistance in the affected areas.

On the other hand, we sustained the international recognition heaped on Eastern Visayas as a foot-and-mouth disease-free region. We credit our quarantine people for strictly enforcing rules and regulations in all ports of entry. In the same vein, no major animal disease outbreaks were reported allowing us to reduce our livestock mortality rate from 10 to 5% and sustaining our animal population growth.

These achievements however are just a prologue. Our task does not end with being able to fulfill a promise to provide food for our people. A bigger challenge is to strengthen the foundation for a viable, thriving and self-supporting rural economy, buoyed and enabled by a competitive agriculture sector.

As we look forward to another year of opportunities, we just have to continue innovating to accentuate the gains we have achieved. May each of us take part in fully harnessing our God-given talents to assist every farmer, fisherfolk and their families. And may we never tire in helping one another deliver and sustain the fulfillment of our promise to our clientele.



 The past year, as expected, marked the unfolding of new strides in the agriculture sector in the region. Most of the activities during the year were impact-based, focused on the attainment of the threefold national vision of food security, job generation and poverty alleviation.

             This year, DA-VIII had its own promise fulfilled, with the region finally achieving rice self-sufficiency. The region’s rice production output expanded  from 622,435 to 670,040 mt, or a self-sufficiency index of 103% by yearend.

             Despite several calamities  which might have slightly reduced the area harvested, the full-swing implementation of the Quick Turn Around (QTA) strategy was able to offset  expected production losses.  Farmers who harvested their palay in August and September were encouraged to plant in the early months of September to October. With QTA, at least 1,474 hectares were planted, which further improved the rice production performance of the region.

             Under the GMA - Corn program, white corn production exhibited a 94% sufficiency index, with the provinces of Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte showing relatively higher per capita consumption as compared to the three provinces of Samar. This came as a result of the continuing advocacy on the use of certified Open Pollinated Variety (OPV) corn seeds, which highlighted their much greater yield strength and pest resistance compared to the traditional variety.

             Vis-a-vis the 0.86 mt per hectare in 2002, the average corn production during the year increased to 0.90 mt. However, in the program areas particularly the corn clusters in Capoocan and Mahaplag, Leyte and Paranas, W. Samar, including the OPV corn techno-demo sites, the average yield reached to 2.5 – 4 mt/ha. In addition, with the OPV Seed Exchange program, more farmers were encouraged to shift from planting traditional corn variety to certified OPV.

Mango now grows off–season in the region. This year, the area planted with mango significantly increased from 489 to 1,700 hectares. On the other hand, 36,282 grafted jackfruit and 90,510 coffee seedlings  were produced by the Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC), Abuyog, Leyte and distributed to the farmers. On banana production, RIARC produced about 22,500 disease-free seedlings using the in-vitro technique. Likewise, on coffee production, at least 90,510 seedlings were produced.

Towards further promoting livestock and poultry productivity, Eastern Visayas was able to maintain the international recognition given to it by the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE), France as a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)- free region. Moreover, with the decrease in livestock mortality by 5.5%, animal population was sustained, even achieving a self-sufficiency level for carabeef, pork and chevon.    

             The region’s involvement in hosting two national activities spelled the difference in laying down the directions of certain priority programs and activities for the year.  These two activities were the 1st Visayas-wide Small Ruminants Congress and the Joint Seminar Workshop on Revitalizing the DA-UNAIP (Department of Agriculture - Unified National Artificial Insemination Program) Extension Service for Regions VI and VIII.

             Meanwhile, in recognition of its efficiency in managing agricultural research and development activities, the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center  was chosen as the Zonal Research and Development Center for Agriculture in the Visayas by the Bureau of Agricultural Research.

             DA-EVIARC Manager Rufino B. Ayaso III  was awarded as the year’s  Most Outstanding Research Manager by PHILARM or Philippine Association of Research Managers. Also, Dr. Carlos S. de la Cruz,  RIARC-Abuyog superintendent was commended by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for being one of the country’s 12 Outstanding DOST-PCARRD Scholars for 2002.

             While we take pride for successfully achieving our hard won gains, we feel all the more inspired to continue strengthening the region’s agricultural base. As we usher in the year 2004, we hope to live up to the same laudable distinction we have established - always keeping our promise.



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