Arroyo suspends conversion of rice lands for 2 years

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 17:36:00 05/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has suspended for two
years the processing and approval of all land conversion applications for rice lands, citing the need to prioritize rice production to ensure food security.

In signing Administrative Order 226, Arroyo said that to meet the needs of the growing population for food, “there is need for the production of rice to be optimized to meet our local needs and consumption.”

“To ensure sufficiency in rice supply, there is a need for all lands utilized and intended for rice production to be protected from any other land use or conversion,” the order added.

Those lands covered by the order include “all irrigated areas, all irrigable lands already covered by irrigation projects, all alluvial plain land highly suitable for agriculture whether irrigated or not, agro-industrial crop lands or lands presently planted to industrial crops that support the viability of existing agricultural infrastructure and agro-based enterprises, highlands, areas located at an elevation of five hundred meters or above and have the potential for growing semi-temperate and high value crops, all agricultural lands that are ecological fragile and mangrove areas and fish sanctuaries.”

The Department of Agrarian Reform would be the main implementing agency of the order.(PDI)

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