Over 600 rice farmers in Bicol explored new hybrid rice varieties showcased during the Department of Agriculture Bicol Hybrid Rice Technology Demonstration Field Day held on October 5 and 6, 2023 in Baao and Tigaon in Camarines Sur.

Sixteen hybrid rice varieties were showcased in Baao while 19 hybrid rice varieties were displayed by nine seed companies to rice farmers from Rinconada and Partido districts who participated in the said activity.

According to DA Bicol Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer for Camarines Sur Marcial Bustarga, who represented DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla  and Regional Rice Program Coordinator Earl Vincent Vegas, the program aims to showcase localized pagkages of high yielding hybrid rice seeds and technologies. He added that it was also one of the agency’s strategies to increase the farmers’ adoption of hybrid rice technology and improve their productivity.

One of the highlights of the activity was the conduct of field tour to the 100-hectare demonstration project sites in Brgy. Sagrada in Baao and Brgy. San Rafael in Tigaon, Camarines Sur featuring the seed companies’ nine stations. Among the seed companies that joined in the said activity were: Seed Works Philippines Inc. (TH82, Quadro Alas, US 88), Bayer Crop Science Philippines (Bigante Plus, Habilis Plus, AZ7888, AZ8433DT*), Bioseed Research Philippines Inc. (BioRice 453, BioRice 650*), Leads Agri Ventures Corp. (LAV 777, Jackpot 102), Corteva Agri Science (PHB 85, PHB 87), LongPing Tropical Rice Development Inc. (LP 2096), Allied Botanical Corp. (MESTIZO 30), SL AgriTech Corp. (SL 19H, SL 20H*), and Syngenta Philippines (NK 5017, S6003). Each of them provided a technical staff who discussed their package of technologies. They related that with favorable weather condition, proper farm management and right amount of fertilizer, these new hybrid rice seed varieties can give farmers a potential yield as high as 14 tons per hectare with rice crop maturity of 104 to 118 days after sowing. They added that aside from increased yield, hybrid rice has higher tolerance against drought, flood, strong wind and heavy rain. Moreover, hybrid rice is aromatic, palatable, and soft when cooked.

These hybrid rice attributes convinced Virgilio Beliber, president of Sagrada Waras Dam Irrigators Association Inc. in Baao, Camarines Sur; Augusto Respeto, president of Bahay Madie Cumon Exiomo Irrigators’ Association in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur and Gloria Cleofas, president of Oragon Farmers’ Association in Tigaon, Camarines Sur that it is high time for rice farmers to fully adopt the hybrid rice technology.   

“Sa aking mga kapwa magsasaka na hindi pa naka-try ng hybrid rice, i-try natin para maikumpara natin kung ano ang mas magandang ani kaysa doon sa inbred. Huwag tayong mag-atubili na i-try natin ‘yung hybrid rice para dumami naman ‘yung ating kita,” Beliber said.

“Tangkilikin niyo na po ngayon ang hybrid kasi po ito ang panahon ngayon para gamitin natin ang hybrid para tumaas po ang kita natin at ani,” Respeto related. 

“I-adopt na po natin ang hybridization kasi maganda po talaga ‘yung hybrid at saka nakita ko po talaga ‘yung ani. Ito po ay hindi ang huli kundi ito po ang umpisa,” Cleofas added.

Engr. Aline Bravo, Municipal Agriculturist of Baao, Camarines Sur and Lea Beltran, Municipal Agriculturist of Tigaon, Camarines Sur also expressed their gratitude to DA Bicol for the opportunity to serve as techno demo area for the agency’s rice hybridization program. They added that the activity will greatly help intensify the promotion of hybrid rice not only in their area but in adjacent municipalities.

“Ito pong demo na ito ay makakapagbigay ng impormasyon sa food security dahil ngayon, uso ang import, maraming foreign na bigas na dumarating sa atin pero kung matutunan ito ng farmers, darating ang panahon na hindi na tayo mag-i-importkasi kung magsosobra ang production ng Philippines, baka tayo ang mag-export ng bigas,” Bravo said.

“Dakulaon po ining bagay na pig-conducir para maheling po nindo an performance. Sana nag-enjoy kamo maski mainit, and dakol kamong nanudan na pagbalik nindo i-adaptar ta po sa satuyang tanuman,” Beltran noted.

Participating rice farmers were also given the chance to select their top five hybrid rice seed varieties based on the hybrid performance evaluation forms. According to DA Bicol Rice Program Regional Coordinator Earl Vincent P. Vegas, its result will be the basis of the farmers in claiming seeds thru the voucher system in 2024.

The DA Bicol Rice Program has also conducted similar activities in rice clustered areas with a minimum of 100 hectares in Brgy. Manangle in Sipocot, Camarines Sur; Brgy. Calintaan in Talisay, Camarines Norte; Brgy. Bonga in Ligao City, Albay; Brgy. Ponong in Casiguran, Sorsogon; Brgy. Bat-ungan in Mandaon, Masbate; and Brgy. Salvacion in Panganiban, Catanduanes from September to October 2023. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V with reports from Engr. Gina C. Nuñez and Luzgel R. Adriano)   

Photo Credits:

Hermito Antonio T. Privaldos, Eduardo D. Collantes Jr., Ramon C. Adversario Jr. and Annielyn L. Baleza

*only showcased in Brgy. San Rafael Tigaon, Camarines Sur techno demo area