The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have collaborated to help rice farmers reduce production cost through direct-seeding.
Direct seeding is a crop establishment method where rice seeds are dispersed directly onto land surface. Studies show through this method, farmers can save up to PhP1.14 on labor cost for every kilogram of rice produced, saves 30% less water, and 23 labor days for every hectare.
“While direct-seeding has many advantages over transplanting in rice cultivation, the 2016-2017 Rice-Based Farm Households Survey (RBFHS) notes only 36% of Filipino farmers practice it,” Dr. Jaime A. Manalo, one of the project implementers, said.
Under the project, “Building capacity on promoting economically and environmentally efficient rice production through direct-seeded rice,” farmer-beneficiaries in barangays Bangcol and Guisguis in Sta. Cruz, Zambales have participated in technology demonstrations of best management practices and tried the multi-purpose seeder, drumseeder, and precision seeder since July this year.
With a team of policy researchers, the project also conducted a study on impact and adoption pathways for direct-seeded rice. In a group discussion, a farmer said that it is the first time that their community has served as a site for a rice-related project.
To rally local support, the team also pitched the project to the members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Sta. Cruz and its mayor, Consolacion Marty.
In one of the project’s field day and forum, Bermy Miano, chairman of Guisguis Farmers Association, said that the precision seeder is helpful to them as it reduced labor costs and seeding rate.
“I broadcast 80kg of seeds per hectare. But through the precision seeder, 20-40kg of seeds is already enough for a hectare. I also spent P12,000 for 20 farm hands in seeding. With the machine, we only need one operator,” he said.
Violeta Movilla of Guisguis, that the use of precision seeders cut their labor costs ranging P300 – P400 per person.
The project, which had conducted field days in September and October, will be implemented until July 2023.