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DA targets 1.5M hectares of hyrid rice

February 18, 2023 Joel dela Torre 235 views

FOLLOWING the approval of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the adoption of hybrid rice varieties that will help local farmers enhance their crop production, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is now eyeing to plant these seeds to 1.5 million hectares of rice land come dry season.

According to the Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel De Mesa, a strategy plan has been developed to promote the planting of these hybrid seeds to available land areas in the country.

The President, who is also the DA Secretary, is optimistic that the country will attain its rice self-sufficiency target within two years with the use of hybrid seeds.

DA said it is currently looking at expanding production in Regions 6, 8, 12 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

This far, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions have already adopted the hybrid rice technology.

According to DA, it will also launch a financial and credit program that will persuade farmers to shift to hybrid rice.

“Ipinag-utos ng ating Pangulo na siguruhing mabigyan ang ating mga kababayan na nagtatanim ng palay ng sapat na suporta kagaya ng patubig, fertilizer at iba pang ayuda katulad ng Rice Farmers Financial Assistance. Ang mga ito ay nararapat na maibigay sa tamang panahon,” De Mesa stressed.

Apart from expanding financial support to local farmers through the loan financing program, President Marcos committed to bring the best farming practices used by Central Luzon farmers to the rest of the country.

Based on a joint study by the DA and local government units (LGUs), the hybrid system has produced 41% higher yield than inbred conventional seeds for the past two years.

In 2023, the DA earmarked P30 billion in funds under the National Rice Program for the provision of hybrid and inbred or certified seeds, production-related and post-harvest machinery, small-scale irrigation, as well as extension and training activities.

This is on top of the P10B-Rice Enhancement Competitiveness Fund sourced from the excess tariff collected under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which aims to improve the competitiveness of farmers.

“Iyong koleksyon natin noong nakaraang taon – dahil sa Rice Tariffication Law – ay umabot sa P22 billion. So meron tayong excess collection na P12B na maibabahagi sa ilalim ng RFFA,” De Mesa said.