100-hectare demo farm to showcase hybrid rice technology now in Butuan City

BUTUAN CITY – A 100-hectare demonstration farm to showcase hybrid rice technology has been established in Butuan City.

DA 13-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo (center) leads the ceremonial planting yesterday to officially kick-off the preparations for the 11th National Rice Technology Forum in October, 2020, hosted by the Caraga region. (Photo courtesy of DA 13-PIO via Mike U. Crismundo/Manila Bulletin)

With Caraga Region hosting the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) in October this year, DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director (RED) Abel James I. Monteagudo led the ceremonial planting to officially kick-off the preparations for the forum in Barangay Lemon, Butuan City yesterday.

This is in collaboration with the Rice Productivity Advocacy Incorporated  or the Rice Board and the Local Government Unit of Butuan. 

For the 2020 wet cropping season, 61 participating Farmer-Cooperators (FCs) from the Barangays of Ampayon, Basag, and Lemon in Butuan City are taking part in establishing a 100-hectare area rice technology demonstration farm.

"The techno demo area is a learning site for the farmers to see the advantages of hybrid rice. With this, Caraga rice farmers will have the opportunity to personally see the result and choose which among the best practices and technologies introduced are applicable to their farm conditions," said RED Monteagudo.

Currently, the farmer-cooperators are on their pre-planting activities. They are provided with seeds, input requirements, crop protection as well as technical assistance following the package of technology recommended for a particular hybrid rice variety by the seed companies and rice institutions.

The farmer-cooperators will also take the responsibility of the labor cost and expenses for the maintenance and the growth of hybrid rice until its harvesting.

Private seed companies such as SL Agritech Corporation, Seedworks, Bioseed, Ramgo, Bayer, Pioneer, Syngenta, Advanta, and LongPing are the partners of the farmer-cooperators in the development of the demonstration farms.

Alongside the private seed companies,  DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) – Agusan and Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilScat) also participated in the technology demonstration.

Since water is very important in hybrid production, the DA, together with the National Irrigation Administration – Caraga, is working closely to ensure water availability in the production sites.

As the country is facing the new normal, Monteagudo encouraged the key players by reiterating Secretary William Dar's three principles in surpassing the global crisis. 

"The participation of the rice industry stakeholders is crucial to the success of the 11th NRTF. Together we will survive, reboot, and grow," Monteagudo said.

He said the DA continuously provides all options for the Filipino rice farmers to select technologies that will improve their productivity. One of these is the adoption of high-end technology for the rice industry – the use of hybrid.

In 2017, hybrid rice utilization is at 9.78%.  For the following years, it posted an increase of 12.04% in 2018 and 17.11% in 2019 based on the DA-National Rice Program rice performance report.

The historical data of hybrid utilization in the country calls for a more strategic approach to convince more farmers to adopt the practices and technology of hybrid rice given that the wide-scale adoption of such technology could help attain the country's rice sufficiency goal.