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DAVAO CITY - The Quick Turn-Around (QTA) Plan for Rice Production in North Cotabato was officially launched on Thursday, targeting at least 54,000 hectares for off-season planting and ratooning.

Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Cotabato QTA Task Force, headed by Governor Nancy Catamco and organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), is coordinating efforts to stave off a feared rice shortage in Mindanao.

The QTA Task Force were also composed of Department of Agriculture (DA) represented by Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the city and municipal mayors of the province.

He said that among the points agreed on yesterday were: DA to immediately release the Inbred Rice Seeds under the RCEP for 34,000 hectares and allocate corresponding fertilizer supply while NIA will not undertake any repair and maintenance work which are usually done during this time and instead release irrigation water early in systems where water is still available.

“The LGUs through their agriculture offices will submit an inventory of available rice supply in their localities and the irrigated, rain-fed and upland rice areas which could be utilized for the off-season planting,” Piñol said.

Also, the provincial government is tasked to acquire and distribute modern Hybrid Rice Seeds which could be planted through the dry-seeding technology.

“It was agreed that the QTA should result in the production of rice starting August, in anticipation of the lean months when the supply of rice will be scarce because of the difficulty in accessing imported rice,” he added.

Piñol further said that MinDA will be working with local rice traders to ensure the farmers that their produce will be bought at a good price.

“With the Cotabato QTA fully organized, MinDA will now move to other rice producing provinces to introduce the program,’ he said.

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