To enhance the competitiveness of rice farmers and the rice industry in Caraga, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Agusan branch station showcased rice farming technologies suitable for the region.
During the station’s Lakbay Palay, Agusan featured location specific and high-yielding varieties such as NSIC Rc 222, Rc 300, Rc 216, and Rc 160 to 495 farmers and stakeholders. These varieties can yield 5.6 to 11t/ha.
Yield-enhancing nutrient and water management technologies were also exhibited such as the minus one element technique (MOET), rice crop manager (RMC), and the alternate-wetting and drying (AWD).
MOET comes with a kit used for soil analysis. RCM offers specific recommendation on nutrient, pest, weed, or water management; and AWD reduces irrigation consumption without decreasing its yield.
“To promote mechanization, we demonstrated how to use plastic drum seeder and mechanical transplanter,” said Dr. Gerado Estoy, PhilRice Agusan officer-in-charge. The drum seeder saves 50-80% of seeds over broadcast seeding while the transplanter needs only an operator and a helper to plant two hectares per day.
The region has the second lowest annual yield among other regions with an average yield of 3.11 t/ha in 2017, next to ARMM with 2.61 tons/ha.
Estoy urged the participants to integrate new technologies in rice farming to achieve higher yield and income.
“We are planning to boost our development initiatives through technology demonstration, mobile pest clinic, farmer’s training, and school-on-the-air in strategic areas [for these new technologies to reach every farmer and be adapted],” Estoy said.
Explaining the rice supply in the region, NFA Regional Director Edna de Guzman noted that milled rice prices are now declining and supply is stabilized due to the additional supply of NFA rice in the local market and start of harvesting season.
De Guzman said that 200,000 sacks of imported rice was received by NFA Caraga as of August 2018 and additional 200, 000 sacks are expected to arrive starting this October until December.
As of October, NFA Caraga projected the potential rice supply at 1,709,848 bags of 50 kg rice. With 17,880 bags average daily consumption in the region, supply is expected to last 96 days.