SAN RAMON, BULA, CAMARINES SUR – The DA RFO 5 Rice Program together with San Agustin – San Ramon Farmers Coop (SARFC) in this municipality staged the first ever Regional Rice Technology Forum – a rice derby participated in by five seed companies to showcase the higher yield and impressive traits of the hybrid rice such as more resilience to adverse ecological conditions, superior flavor and improved shelf life.

Three farmer cooperators experimented on five hybrid rice varieties, namely: PH 77 from Pioneer Hybrid Intl., Inc.; SL 18 from SL Agritech Corp.; Bigante Plus from  Bayer; US 88 from Seedworks Phils, Inc.; and 6003 from Syngenta on April 22, 2019 in this municipality.

Arthur S. Rabeje, Manager of the SARFC said that the idea of holding a rice techno forum dawned on him when he was sent by the DA Bicol Rice Program to the National Rice Technology Forum in Bohol last year. The SARFC has over 500 active members and they cover 436 hectares rice areas in the municipality of Bula. The coop received a Rice Processing Center (RPC) 1 with milling facilities and bodega, along with 2 units flatbed dryers from DA Bicol  Rice Program. The RPC was established in 2014 and has since then helped the rice farmers in the community in drying and milling their palays.

DA Bicol OIC RTD Rodel P. Tornilla said that based on studies, improved rice production is possible with proper irrigation, sunlight, use of good seeds, application of required fertilizer and good farm management. While the inbred rice varieties can only produce a maximum yield of 100 cavans per hectare with the presence of above mentioned conditions, the hybrid rice varieties can give up to 200 cavans per hectare especially during dry season.

Hybrid rice can also perform well during wet season, OIC RTD Tornilla added, as evidenced by the National Rice Technology Forum conducted at Balanguibang, Polangui, Albay which showcased wet season hybridization.

Teresita Llagas, 61 year old widow, was one of the cooperators who testified on the great difference of ­using hybrid against inbred rice varities. “Magayunun talaga ang ani sa hybrid. Su una di talaga arog kayan an tubo kan paroy.” (Hybrid rice is really very amazing. The varieties that I used in the past are not as good). She thanked the DA Bicol for the free fertilizers. The seed companies provided the hybrid  seeds and technical assistance, and the LGU technicians also assisted the farmers during the trial.   Other cooperators, namely: Gerardo Del Juana, and Jesus Olayres also shared their experiences in planting hybrid rice.  

Representatives of each seed companies presented their new products and raffled off freebies for the farmer participants.

Also present during the rice techno forum were Atty. Ma. Lourdes Pacao, regional director of Cooperative Development Authority; Municipal Agriculturist Mency Madrid of Bula, RAFC Chair Alfredo R. Rillo, Marcial Bustarga of the DA 5 Rice Program,  Provincial Agriculturists, Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council Leaders, LGU representatives,  leaders of various cooperatives, irrigators associations and farmers associations, members of the SARFC and farmers of Bula.  (Lovella P. Guarin/photos by Jun Collantes and Hermito Privaldos)