Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DA pushes hybrid rice seeds among Bicolano farmers
By Connie B. Destura

POLANGUI, Albay Sept. 28 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol is conducting a three-day national rice technology forum in Polangui, Albay that is pushing for the use of hybrid rice seeds among Bicolano farmers.

Now on its second-day, the forum that started on Tuesday, Sept. 27 encourages farmers to adopt high quality rice varieties that can adapt to climate change and boost production and income.

More than 2,500 farmers, local government units’ agricultural extension workers, students and other stakeholders in the Bicol region joined the forum which is being supported by the Rice Productivity Advocacy Board (Rice Board).

Dr. Frisco Malabanan, spokesperson of the Rice Board and a senior technical consultant of SLAgritech Corp., said the Rice Board provides assistance to the national government in providing new rice production technologies to farmers in the country.

“We are focusing on hybrid rice technology,” he said.

He said their goal is to help the government educate the farmers on the importance of this technology so food security and self-sufficiency could be attained in the Philippines.

Malabanan said the best way to convince the farmers on the value of the technology is to show them how the hybrid rice variety is being applied by farmers.

“With farmers to see is to believe, they will not use your technology if they cannot see the technology in the local area,” he said.

The technology forum has technical and plenary discussions as well as exhibits that complement the learnings and experiences of the farmers in the field. It is highlighted by field visits to demonstration farms.

A 20-hectare land of farmers led by Edgar Pesebre in Barangay Balangibang, Polangui has been chosen site of the demonstration farm.

Pesebre showcased the actual use of technology for the hybrid and inbred varieties that give farmers a choice of the appropriate technology for their respective growing conditions.

Aside from its strategic location, Polangui town is one of the northwestern towns in Albay’s third district that is known as the rice granary of the province.

Polangui has been recognized nationwide as it is a “hall of famer” during in the search for the national rice achievers for three consecutive years, from 2012 to 2015.

Polangui Mayor Cherilie Mella-Sampal said given the right direction government services could be effectively brought to the farmers.

“We shall move forward in our quest for a successful agricultural program geared towards attaining food security and better productivity,” she said.

Some 400,000 hectares of farmlands nationwide have been planted with the hybrid rice variety.

DA Secretary Emmanuel PiƱol recently announced that DA looks forward to planting hybrid rice in around one million hectares of land in the country.

Malabanan said with private sector participation he believes the goal can be achieved in helping speed up the transfer of modern rice technology to farmers in the country.

He said the Polangui activity is the third national forum held in the country since 2015. The first was held in Digos, Davao Del Sur in February 2015 while the second was in Pototan, Iloilo in March this year.

The seven member companies organizing the Polangui forum include Bayer Philippines Inc., DuPont Pioneer, SL Agritech Corp., Seedworks, Syngenta Philippines Inc., PhilRice and PhilsCAT. (PNA) JMC/GVR/CBD