department-of-agriculture-logoTACLOBAN CITY,  (PNA) –- The Department of Agriculture regional office here in Region 8 has welcomed a new regional director with a mandate to fulfill the promises of President Rodrigo Duterte to farmers.

In a press briefing Friday morning, Regional Director U-Nichols Manalo said he accepted the challenge to modernize farming in the poverty stricken region and step up engagements of stakeholders.

“Let us educate our farmers on how to utilize technology and information. We noticed that in some areas in Samar, the mode of rice farming is very traditional,” Manalo told reporters.

Another challenge is to encourage children of farmers to learn and practice farming, according to the official.

The new DA regional chief also vowed to engage local government and farmers through regular consultations.

“We have to solicit opinions on how to better carry out projects,” said Manalo, 41, a native of Camarines Sur.

He was designated by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol as officer-in-charge of DA Eastern Visayas, replacing Wilson Cerbito, who has been on medical leave since early November.

Prior to his new assignment, Manalo handled the department’s special projects and locally-funded project and other significant posts at the DA central office since he joined government service early 2002. Early this year, he completed a six-year agriculture-related study in Japan.

Eastern Visayas is an agricultural area where 45 percent or 976,415 hectares of its total land area is devoted to agriculture. Of its agricultural lands, 70 percent is planted to coconut and 20 acheter viagra percent is planted to rice and corn. The rest is planted to other crops, used to raise livestock and poultry, or produce inland fishery products.

Broken down to provinces, Leyte has the biggest farm lands at 332,018 hectares, followed by Northern Samar (200,563 hectares), Samar (170,995 hectares), Southern Leyte (90,673 hectares), and Biliran (27,230 hectares).(PNA)