September 19, 2023

Agriculture ministry pushes for clustered hybrid rice farms

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has promulgated a policy on establishing grouped hybrid rice farms in different regions of the Philippines to improve rice production.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a circular memorandum that the project aimed to enhance hybrid rice production to promote the adoption of new technologies by farmers.

The project aims to generate data that will drive the adoption of hybrid rice varieties, technologies and recommended management practices and enhance the clustering approach for production, harvesting, processing and marketing.

Provincial hybrid rice cluster farms will be implemented from the 2021-2022 dry season and will continue through each growing season.

Minimum cluster size

The area allocated to each cluster farm site is at least 100 hectares, which will be established in 15 provinces with a large harvested area of ​​hybrid rice.

These are Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Leyte, Bukidnon, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

“These cluster farms will also be established in other provinces outside the RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund) areas but on a smaller scale,” the circular said.

A hybrid rice company or agency participating in this initiative must plant a maximum of three varieties of hybrid rice.

In choosing a site for hybrid rice aggregation, he must have a road network that makes it accessible to service providers of agricultural and post-harvest machinery, facilities and equipment as well as an irrigation facility that provides enough water for two crops per year.

Eager to adopt

The circular also states that members of cooperatives and farmers’ associations must be willing to adopt or accept the recommended agricultural technologies.

Farmers must be willing to be trained in agro-entrepreneurship, he added.

They should belong to active farmers’ associations or cooperatives and duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority or the Securities and Exchange Commission, preferably for farmers who have received operational rice processing centers other equipment or machinery. agricultural.

Prior to establishing the demonstration farms, the participating parties will be asked to perform a soil test to determine the chemical, physical and biological soil conditions of the sites to determine the nutrient status or soil health.

Likewise, collect agroclimatic data in the selected sites.

Frisco Malabanan, agricultural advisor for the hybrid rice program, said more than one million hectares of land have been cultivated for hybrid rice since 2019.

“By 2022, we will be able to plant hybrid rice on 1.1 million hectares of land across the Philippines,” Malabanan said in an online press conference on Thursday.

—Jordeene B. Lagare

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