PalaySikatan – a technology demonstration farm by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program provided a venue for farmers in the Bicol Region to know more about modern rice production.
“I learned the proper way of cultivating rice through PalaySikatan. I used to immediately spray pesticide on my crop at the sight of insects. Now, I first check whether the insects are beneficial or harmful to my crop, and whether there’s a need to spray,” farmer Jovito Panelo said.
Panelo is one of the about 100 participants who participated in the field walk held at Brgy. Balza in Malinao, Albay and Brgy. Grijalvo in San Fernando, Camarines Sur.
Rice growers in the area are taught that indiscriminate use of pesticides reduces biodiversity and disrupts the natural balance of insect pests and beneficial organisms. They were advised to conserve long-horned grasshoppers as they feed on egg masses of stemborers, and the spiders as they feed on the nymphs and adults of leaf and planthoppers.
Farmers also said they learned to use the mechanical transplanter and about the national recommended varieties namely NSIC Rc 222, 402, and 216; regional recommended varieties: 480 and 440; and Rc 438, a next generation variety.
The RCEF-Seed Program allots P3 billion fund every year for the seed requirements of rice farmers and to help farmers produce rice that can compete in the international market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.
PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program and is the government’s prime agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines. With eight stations across the country, its programs and projects are in line with the DA’s “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita” battlecry. For more information about the Institute’s program, queries can be sent thru PhilRice Text Center (0917 111 7423) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.