SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – The Department of Agriculture gathered all the Small Water Irrigation Systems Association (SWISA) and Irrigators Association (IA) presidents from all over the region to update them on the new guidelines of hybridization program coming from Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol.

OIC Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Rodel Tornilla said the DA Bicol targets to plant hybrid rice in a total of 20,473 hectare area this dry season starting on September 16, 2017 to March 15, 2018. Target beneficiaries are farmers’ associations, cooperatives, irrigators’ association and SWISA with SEC or DOLE registration.

OIC RTD Tornilla said the hybridization program is different from the hybrid rice techno demo and rice model farms currently being implemented by the DA. The latter caters to clusters of 10 hectares. OIC RTD Tornilla added that the hybridization program will give chance to farmers’ organizations that did not qualify in the techno demo and model farms.

 

The DA will strictly monitor the implementation of the program. Key players under this program are the seed companies who will supply the hybrid rice seed (farmers’ choice) and fertilizers to the financiers who, in turn, will supply to the IAs and farmers organizations. The seeds and fertilizers are payable after harvest.

OIC RTD Tornilla said the rice farmers who will participate in the hybridization program will be given priority by DA in the grant of irrigation projects, farm machineries and other interventions under the Rice Program.

The DA Rice Program is intensifying its hybridization program as hybrid rice has the potential to double farmers’ harvest, providing nearly two seasons’ worth of yield in single planting with the right amount of seeds, fertilizer, water and farm mechanization. The highest recorded yield in hybrid rice in the last season cropping in Bicol was 234 cavans or 11.7 metric tons per hectare harvested by Genaro Tamon in Magarao, Camarines Sur. (Lovella Guarin)