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Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala expressed confidence that “Filipino farmers can be at par with the best farmers of the world” with the results of Palayabangan, a nationwide farming contest, in this year`s dry season.

Nakakatakot ang ASEAN integration. Pero nakita natin na kaya palang maging globally competitive ang ating mga magsasaka (The ASEAN integration may sound intimidating. But today, it`s proven that farmers can be globally competitive),” Alcala said.

In a ceremony held at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Nueva Ecija, Alcala awarded the winners in Palayabangan, a production challenge that aims to produce 10 t of rice in a hectare at P5 a kilo. Current production price is pegged at P11 a kilo.

Syngenta Philippines was declared regional winner in Isabela with its 10.54 t/ha-harvest produced at P4.94 a kilo. Records show that the company gained P127,214.19 based on the National Food Authority`s prevailing market price of P17/kg.

“The Agriculture Department supports PhilRice in promoting technologies for our farmers to fare well when goods from our neighboring countries pour in our market. In this PhilRice-hosted competition, we saw that farmers can get higher yield at minimal cost,” he said in Filipino.

Participants who almost met the challenge include the local government unit of San Mateo, Isabela, which registered 9.72t/ha at P4.67 a kilo; and Ricardo Terte, 9.69t/ha at P5.67 a kilo. In Nueva Ecija, Pioneer Philippines recorded a yield of 10.23t/ha at P5.92 a kilo while SL-Agrictech produced 9.63 t/ha, P6.99.

Alcala said that training, technical assistance, and government assistance will also help farmers increase their harvest and income.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute