Gil N. Del Barrio, rice seed grower of Barangay Lag-on, Daet, Camarines Norte is officially  the first winner of the DA – Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) National Seed Industry Council’s (NSIC) Search for Outstanding Seed Innovators. This was announced by George Y. Culaste, OIC Director of Bureau of Plant Industry, Vice Chair and Executive Director of NSIC thru a Memorandum dated March 12, 2019.

The awarding ceremonies will be held on March 28, 2019 at the BPI, Malate, Manila during the 25th NSIC anniversary celebration.  

            Del Barrio, 53 years old, is  regarded in Cam. Norte as  an innovator, strong advocate of rice mechanization and utilization of high quality seeds, a persistent researcher, Magsasaka Siyentista and successful entrepreneur.

            In his 31 years in farming he has ventured into rice and vegetable production, tilapia culture, poultry and swine raising. It was in 2011 that he started producing rice seeds with the help of PhilRice and started sending palay seeds to the National Seed Quality Control Service for laboratory analysis. News about his success in seed production has spread fast and wide and he has been deluged with a lot of orders.

            Due to poverty, Mang Gil did not finish a college degree but the units on automotive mechanic and computer technology that he has taken helped him in improving his knowledge in farming. He consistently searches for new technologies thru attendance to trainings; participates in Lakbay Aral and regularly browses the internet. Among the PhilRice Apps he uses daily are AgriDOC App, MOET App, the Binhing Palay App, and e-Damuhan app. He has also been using the Field Area Measure app although it has yet to be launched by PhilRice. This app which features geotagged locations of rice farmers helped him a lot in his business. He has also completed the National Seed Training Course on In-Bred Rice Production, Certification and Quality Control for Seed Growers conducted by the DA NSQCS in Bicol.

            He uses the top 5 rice varieties recommended by PhilRice Bicol like NSIC RC 222, 216, 238, 300 and NSIC RC 160  during wet cropping seasons. In dry months, he plants NSIC RC 346 or Sahod Ulan 11 which is a stress –resistant mutant rice.

During the dry season of 2017, he produced an average yield of 150 bags rice seeds per hectare at 50 kg per bag and earned a net income of P141,430.00 with an ROI of 226%. In the wet season of 2017, he produced an average of 120 bags per hectare and  earned a net income of P101,230.00 with an ROI of 163%.

Out of the 700 bags he produced in the same year, 650 bags were sent to NSQCS for analysis and 630 bags were tagged as Certified Palay Seeds. His seeds are now being supplied not only to the farmers of Cam. Norte but also to some cooperatives in other provinces of Bicol.

With the earnings he derived from six years of seed production,  he was able to purchase one unit of 4-Wheel Drive Tractor; 2 units Hand Threshers; 2 units Hand Tractor; one unit rice planter; and one unit Combine Harvester. At present, he owns 4 units of combine harvester which he acquired through loans from AIMS Agri Venture, Metro Bank, Kubota and also through Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) financing via LandBank of the Philippines.

He provides the services of these farm machineries and equipment to his fellow farmers with a minimum rental fee. He also imparts his technical knowledge on rice farming and entrepreneurship to other farmers as he is  often invited as speaker on those topics by the DA Bicol, the Agricultural Training Institute, and various farmers’ cooperatives. 

One innovation which has tremendously benefitted him is the improvised dryer which he can use even during rainy season. He also installed a lifter at the back of the 4 wheel drive tractor  instead of rotavator to haul and transfer the harvested palay.

He was conferred as Magsasaka Siyentista by the DOST – PCAARRD. He is also the Chairperson of Camarines Norte Seed Growers; an active member of Ambos Camarines and MASIKAP Multipurpose Cooperatives;  P4MP  and PARCOM; and cooperator of the PhilRice Rice Seed System project in Bicol.

            He received various awards such as Dangal ng Daet Award as Outstanding Farmer in 2010; and Regional Gawad Saka Outstanding Rice Farmer in 2008. From his earnings, he was able to buy L200 and L2006 Mitsubishi Pick Up, motorcycle and tricycle,  and sent his 3 children to prestigious schools. 

            With the challenges the rice industry is facing today, the likes of Gil Del Barrio who has spent his life perfecting his craft of producing quality rice seeds and making it available and affordable for the Bicolano farmers, Mang Gil truly deserves to be hailed as 2018 National Outstanding Seed Grower. (Lovella P. Guarin DA RAFIS 5)