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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, March 26 (PIA) - The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), in coordination with the provincial government, will conduct a soil fertility mapping for rice growing areas in the province for three months, from April to June this year.

This was announced by Provincial Agriculturist Marina Gador, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAg), during the Provincial Report cable TV program Tuesday at the capitol building.

"The last soil fertility mapping was done ten years ago, and so this time it will be carried out again to be updated," Gador said, adding that the province's only counterpart of the activity was the provision of a service vehicle and two personnel.

The mapping will be done for a duration of 35 days starting on April 13 at Malitbog and will be finished by June 12 at Maasin, covering a sample of 215 hectares out of the province's total of 10,067 hectares planted to rice for the 18 towns and one city.

The municipality of Hinunangan is the highest rice growing area at 3,164 hectares, followed by Saint Bernard, 1,083 then Maasin City, 1,048, and Hinundayan, 1,026.

Expected output will be the soil fertility map and fertilizer guide to help farmers achieve higher yield, said Gador, adding that for now the province has been self-sufficient in terms of rice production.

Nerio Lanugan, Provincial Coordinator for Rice, reported that the average harvest is 4.3 tons per hectare, even as most of the rice produced in the province was sold to buyers coming from the outside, like traders from Bato, Hilongos, and Surigao.

Meanwhile, an Agriculture Summit has been slated to be held in the province, at Lourdes Convention Center in Maasin City on May 7, with speakers coming from the Visayas State University (VSU) and from the Fishery Central Office, said Feliciano Malaki, Jr. of the OPAg's Enginnering section.

Other guests in the cable TV program were Feliciano Ambi, who expounded on the need to promote organic farming, and Cipriano Acedo from the Provincial Veterinary Office, who reported on various livestock dispersal projects of the their office.