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PANGASINAN, Mar 23 (PIA) — The province reaped another honor when it was awarded by the Department of Agriculture as among the country’s top 10 rice producers for 2012.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala conferred the plaque of recognition and P4-million worth of agricultural projects to Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. during the 2nd Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Awards held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Alcala said the award, led by the DA through its national rice program, is the Aquino government’s way of thanking the country’s rice farmers and their respective provincial and municipal officials and agricultural extension workers (AEWs) for their continuing efforts and contribution in achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2013 and will be sustained until 2016 and beyond.

The Provincial Information Office reported that for 2012, Pangasinan was able to produce 1.133 million metric tons of rice in 2012 which accounts for 65% of the total rice produced in Region I or the third largest producer of rice in the country.

This volume of production can be attributed to the various agricultural programs and projects of the province that includes the “Accelerated Certified Seeds Production and Distribution Program” in cooperation with the Abono Partylist and the distribution of water pumps to members of farmers’ association to avert or mitigate the effect of El Niño and intensified irrigation development efforts among others.

The establishment of the Rice Processing Complex during the last quarter of 2011 also boosted rice production and farmer’s income as it improved rice quality and reduce post-harvest losses. The P190-million state-of-the-art milling facility was funded by the Korea International Cooperating Agency (KOICA), DA, and the Province of Pangasinan, the PIO report said.

Aside from Pangasinan, the local governments of Manaoag and Sta. Maria were also among the 50 outstanding municipalities which received plaque of recognition and cash reward of P1-million each in the form of agricultural projects.

Three agricultural extension workers (AEW) from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and 18 AEWs from 15 municipalities and three cities of Pangasinan were also feted as outstanding agricultural extension workers. Each awardee received a plaque of recognition and P20,000 cash incentive. (MCA/VHS/PIA1-Pangasinan with reports from PIO)

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