There were twists and turns in our country, especially in the rice industry. With the signing of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Trade Liberalization Law, some farmers had had resolved to be more competitive. Let’s share their resolutions: using high-quality inbred seeds, modernizing rice field, joining cooperatives, and attending trainings to more farmers so they continue to rise with other rice importing countries.

High-quality seeds for an excellent harvest

After he discovered the wonders of using high-quality inbred seeds, Gilbert Maturan of Esperanza, Agusan del Norte will surely not go back to his old ways of selecting seeds that are not certified.

PhilRice experts advised using high-quality seeds of a recommended variety as this can increase their yield by 10% or more based on studies.

Gilbert attributed his increase in rice yield to the use of high-quality inbred seeds. His yield increased from 4t/ha to 6.3t/ha using NSIC RC 160. It also lowered his production cost to just P29,120/ha during 2019 wet season. His average expense was only P4.60 for every kg of harvested rice. 

“I am very grateful to PhilRice for I have learned the importance of selecting high-quality inbred seeds and its proper crop management,” Gilbert expressed. He also learned to produce his own high-quality inbred seeds.

Mechanized farming for reduced production cost

Using farm machinery saves on cost, time, and fatigue. It can result in lower farm expenses as it spares farmers from shelling out 52% of their money on labor alone.

Ricky Saligumba of Midsayap, North Cotabato, described the drum seeder given to them as life-changing. His crop produced more grains due to better spacing. His seeding rate was also reduced. From 80-100kg/ha using manual direct-seeding, he only used 40kg/ha with the drumseeder  – truly a tip in the pocket!

Under Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), equipment such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters, harvesters, and irrigation pumps will be given as a grant-in-kind primarily for eligible farmers, rice farm associations, and registered rice cooperatives.

Winning as one in rice farming

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games goes, “We win as one,” but this doesn’t only apply in sports but also in farming.

Alice Mataia of PhilRice Socioeconomics Division emphasized that group marketing is one strategy through which farmers can assert a better price by making collective sales to large-scale buyers such as miller traders, wholesalers, institutional buyers, or supermarkets that buy quality products preferably in bulk.

Chairman Francisco Ignacio of the Adhika cooperative found purpose by venturing into group marketing where harvests of coop members are combined and sold as a whole directly to millers or traders.

“We were able to sell our palay at a higher price,” Ignacio said. At P21-P22/kg, their dried palay was purchased, much higher than per-sack trading. He said they are going to call on non-coop members to join the marketing approach.

Advancing rice farming through training

They say life is a continuous learning process. And as the world changes, we advance our knowledge to improve skills and keep up with the developing world. Training help improves expertise and gains additional insights.

Under RCEF’s Rice Extension Services Program,  Technical Education and Skills Development Authority is tasked with “teaching rice production skills, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization, and knowledge/technology transfer through farm schools across the country,” using a larger portion of the budget for scholarships and a small portion for advocacy activities.

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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