BASEY, Samar---“Maogma ako asin may manunudan ako sa byahe tang ini pasiring sa Samar na ihihiras ko sa mga ka-miyembro ko sa Binobong-Tagbong Irrigators’ Association (I am happy and will learn in this trip to Samar which I can share with my fellow members of the Binobong-Tagbong Irrigators’ Association (BTIA)),” said BTIA secretary Maryann B. Manayoba from Pili, Camarines Sur.

Pedro Guinto from Vinzons, Camarines Norte also expressed same feelings, however, he will share his learnings to his six children who are all professionals but not one ventured into farming. Thus, worrying him as to who will manage his 3.2-hectare farm.

Romeo Bagacina from Fabrica, Bula wanted to try other hybrid rice varieties aside from his SL-18 rice variety in his one-hectare rice farm.

These three Bicolano farmers were with more than 70 rice farmers, Department of Agriculture-5 representatives, and members of irrigators’ associations in the Bicol Region who participated in the 5th National Rice Techno Forum spearheaded by the National Rice Board and the Department of Agriculture held on September 20-22, 2017 at Basey, Samar geared towards increasing production through hybrid rice technology.

 

According to DA-8 Regional Executive Director U-Nichols A. Manalo, more than 3,000 attended the three-day forum which include a field tour in the 12-hectare hybrid rice techno-demo farm in Sitio Manilaay, Old San Agustin, Basey, Samar and technology forums. Topics discussed were Hybrid Rice Technology by Ruben Miranda of PhilRice; DA-8 Major programs and projects by DA-8 Regional Technical Director for Field Operations Dr. Andrew Orais; and Climate Change Smart Agriculture by Assistant Regional Director for Research and Regulations Elvira C. Torres.

During the field tour, University of Eastern Philippines-College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources Dean Leo Mante from Catarman, Northern Samar cited the production performance of the different hybrid rice varieties in the 12-hectare rice farm. He said he is convinced that in order for the hybridization program to be sustained, there should be sufficient and functional irrigation in the farms of Samar.

Mante proposes a research on performance of Hybrid Rice using Organic Fertilizer as majority of the farmers are still using inorganic fertilizers.

Manalo said that the three Samar provinces have an average yield of only 2.5 metric tons/ha. With the hybridization program, Manalo is optimistic that there will be an increase in the average yield, thus, will eventually improve the lives of the farmers and their family.

SL Agritech Dr. Frisco Malabanan said that since farming is farmer’s choice, showcasing different hybrid rice varieties in the field will give the farmers options to what variety he wants to plant. If all rice farmers venture into hybrid rice, it is possible that the Philippines will attain rice self-sufficiency.

Rice Board President Recher Ondap cited the 3rd National Rice Technology Forum in the Bicol Region and how its 20-hectare hybrid rice techno-demo farm influenced and encouraged the neighboring farmers who were once passive in using hybrid rice variety. A harvest festival is slated on October 11-12, 2017 in Barangay Balangibang, Polangui, Albay.

The participating seed companies include US Agriseeds; Prasad Seeds Philippines, Inc; Bayer; Pioneer; PhilSCAT; PhilRice; SL Agritech Corporation; LongPing; Syngenta; CropLife; BioSeed; and BiotechFARMS. (jaysonmgonzales)