Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DA-Bicol consults with farmer-leaders on rice model farm project
By Connie B.Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 21 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol has recently convened farmer leaders of various irrigators’ associations in the region so they could monitor the hybrid rice adoption of farmer beneficiaries under DA’s newest program, the rice model farms.

Rodel Tornilla, officer-in-charge, chief of DA-Bicol’s operations division, in an interview Tuesday, said the farmer-leaders represented the Small Water Irrigation System Association (SWISA) and other irrigators’ associations in Bicol during the consultation.

He said the rice model farms, which will showcase the yield advantage of using hybrid rice seeds as compared to the inbred certified or good seeds currently being used by the farmers, will start in the wet season cropping of 2017 and will continue in the succeeding crop seasons.

Tornilla said the project will provide the farmers-beneficiaries with high quality hybrid rice seeds and technical assistance on the recommended management practices.

“One bag of hybrid seeds at 15 kilograms shall be given to each qualified farmer recipient,” he said.

Tornilla said a total of 4,800 hectares had already been planted to hybrid rice varieties in DA’s roll out of its techno-demo farms.

“To date (dry season planting) there have been 10,317 hectares planted to hybrid rice in the Bicol region,” he said.

He said with proper management of hybrid rice, farmers can attain a yield of six to 10 metric tons per hectare compared to inbred varieties which only yield 3.5 metric tons per hectare.

Tornilla said the hybrid rice varieties recommended in DA’s rice program are PHB 77 (Pioneer), TH82 (Seedworks), Bigante (Bayer), Mestizo 18 and 20 (Public Hybrid), S6003 (Syngenta), and SL 18 (SL Agritech).

He said a rice crop manager, which will issue recommendations to the model rice farm, shall give a maximum of eight bags of fertilizers to farmer-beneficiaries of the program.

DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. Delos Santos said that a minimum of 100 hectares are being targeted per region for the program with at least 10 hectares allotted to a farm cluster but said DA Bicol’s target is to establish 5,000 hectares of rice model farms for 2017.

“These clustered farms shall be geotagged and mapped using GPS and the farmer recipients shall be registered in a field registry and given an identification card,” said Delos Santos.

She said the qualified recipients should be members of farmers’ associations, irrigators associations and farmers’ cooperatives which joined the roll out of the Rice Productivity Enhancement or RIPE program for the dry season 2016-2017.

Delos Santos said the project will be implemented in fully irrigated rice farms to ensure a favorable hybrid rice growing environment and attainment of potential yield.

“But farmers in selected rain-fed areas with adequate water can also avail,” she said.

Delos Santos said baseline data such as production, yield, area and production expenses will be collected during the same season when the rice the model farm will be established.

Farmer recipients are required to attend briefings on hybrid rice production so they can qualify to the program.

To ensure sustainability of the project the farmer recipients will be asked to deposit the corresponding amount of the inputs received from DA to their chosen bank after the harvest season. (PNA) LAP/CBD/SSC