To promote farmers’ adoption of hybrid rice technology and boost their productivity, the Department of Agriculture-Bicol Rice Program conducted a Hybrid Rice Technology Field Day on March 27, 2023. The activity was held in a 100-hectare techno demo area owned by the Bula Farmers Irrigators’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BUFIMCO) in Brgy. Sto. Domingo Bula, Camarines Sur.

About 300 rice farmers from Baao, Bula and Pili, Camarines Sur attended the field day which was participated by seven seed companies that showcased their localized packages of high-yielding and profitable hybrid rice technologies.

Twelve hybrid rice seed varieties were featured during the field day. These include PHB 77 and PHB 85 from Corteva Agri-Science; Bigante Plus, AZ8533, and AZ7888 from Bayer CropScience Inc.; TH 82, US 88 and Quadro Alas from Seedworks Philippines; SL68 from SL Agritech Corp.; BioRice 453 from Bioseed Research Philippines Inc. (BioRice); NK5017 and S6003 from Syngenta AG, and Jackpot from Leads Agricultural Products Corp. The said hybrid rice varieties have an average potential yield of seven to 14 metric tons per hectare and maturity period of 105 to 118 days.

According to DA-Bicol Field Operations Division Chief Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, promoting hybrid rice technology and clustering are some of the agency’s strategies to boost rice production in the region which was affected by various challenges like transboundary plant pests and diseases, world crisis, climate change and natural disasters.

“Pagsubok pero kaya ta po siyang tapatan ning development. To see is to believe. Magayon man palan magtanom nin hybrid. Sa cluster po, samuya, pigpa-prioritize mi pag na-cluster kamo kasi pag cluster, pag sararo, mas nagkakaigwa kita ning power. Igwa kitang bargaining power sa market, igwa kitang bargaining power makipag-negotiate,” Rodriguez said.

BUFIMCO is one of the region’s potential rice clusters with about 350 active farmer-members. To encourage them to support the DA’s Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) program, F2C2 Technical Staff Engr. Gina C. Nuñez conducted a briefing on F2C2. She noted that F2C2 aims to promote clustering and consolidation of farmers and fisherfolk as a strategy to enhance their productivity and income as a business enterprise.

BUFIMCO Chairperson Rico C. Aguila thanked the DA-Bicol for the opportunity saying “Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Department of Agriculture na binigyan kami ng ganitong programa. Karamihan pumunta dito ‘yung mga members namin para manood kung talagang maganda ang hybrid. Naengganyo na ‘yung mga hindi nagtanim ng hybrid ngayon. Parang gusto na nila.”

Also present during the Hybrid Rice Technology Field Day were LGU-Bula OIC-Municipal Agriculturist Joel Serrado, Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) Chairperson Arthur S. Rabeje, Punong Barangay Ferdinand Brazil of Brgy. Sto. Domingo, and Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) for Camarines Sur Marcial T. Bustarga.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Bicol registered 1,329,004.41 metric tons per hectare palay production or 6.73 percent share to the total volume of palay production nationwide at 19,756,392.28 in 2022. This is lower by 1.35 percent compared to the palay production in 2021 at 1,346,952.44 metric tons. Camarines Sur, the rice granary of Bicol, has the highest palay production among the six provinces at 665,430 metric tons or equivalent to 50.07 percent. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)