“We hope that we can produce not only sugarcane but also rice. This way, the workers will have harvest in three to four months,” he said. Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson (left) of Negros Occidental leads the ceremonial planting of the first palay seeds in the block farm of Hacienda Bagacay Workers CARPer Beneficiaries Association in Barangay Aranda, Hinigaran town on June 17. The Sugarcane-Rice Intercropping System Project aims to maximize utilization of sugarcane areas for intercropping with rice to support the food security program of the province. PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL BACOLOD City – The provincial government of Negros Occidental has collaborated with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) for the launching of Sugarcane-Rice Intercropping System Project in Barangay Aranda, Hinigaran town.The ceremonial planting of the first palay seeds was held in the block farm of Hacienda Bagacay Workers CARPer Beneficiaries Association on June 17.Hacienda Bagacay Workers CARPer Beneficiaries Association is the pioneer host of the project in the province. “You are the pioneers. There is a study that shows this is possible, that we can do this. If we will be successful, the others will also follow,” he said. “If we can plant rice in even just half of the sugarcane areas, it will be a big addition to our rice supply,” he said. Lawyer Ignacio Santillana of the SRA Office of the Deputy Administrator for Research, Development and Extension Department, for his part, said that the intercropping project is one way to ensure food security not only in this province but also in the country since the Philippines continues to import rice. Reynaldo Bacordo of the Hacienda Bagacay Workers CARPer Beneficiaries Association said he is also hopeful that the project will be sustained through the help of the government agencies since they have more areas to plant rice in their sugarcane farm. Negros Occidental is dubbed the sugar capital of the Philippines for producing about 60 percent of the country’s sugar output. (With a report from PNA/PN) Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, who led the launching activity with Mayor Nadie Arceo, thanked the farmers for their cooperation as he hoped that the project will be successful. Masculino added that the governor is keen on pursuing the intercropping project because this province is a rice deficit province. Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino, meanwhile, said that they aim to maximize the areas in the province devoted to sugarcane, which span some 189,000 hectares. “Through intercropping, even just in the block farm level, we hope to address it. Our long-term objective is after the farmers are able to meet their needs, they can also sell their produce. It is also our goal to meet the demand for exotic rice in a unique market niche,” he added.