Rice growers in a farm tour conducted by Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) reported that the activity served as an eye opener in improving their field practices.

Dubbed Lakbay Palay, the activity showcased technologies from variety selection until mechanization, which some 600 Luzon farmers learned in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on Sept. 14-15.

“In a hectare, we use 8-10 sacks of seeds because we thought that if we plant more seeds, it will lead to better yield. Here, we learned that 1-2 sacks of certified seeds are enough, ” Jerry Buan, 52-year-old farmer from Arayat, Pampanga, said.

DA-PhilRice recommends 40kg per hectare for transplanted rice while 60-80kg per hectare is promoted for direct-seeded.

The chair of Sinag Tala Matapo Agriculture Cooperative said that they plan to adapt the farming practices they have learned such as the use of drum seeder, which only uses 40kg of seeds per hectare, right fertilizer application, and access ICT-based farm apps including eDamuhan for weed identification and management recommendations and Binhing Palay for variety selection.

Meanwhile, Thelma Cornejo a farmer from Tiaong, Quezon expressed her excitement about the drone technology as this will help improve their pest and nutrient management.

Agricultural drones are used in aerial spraying of pesticides, fungicides, foliar fertilizers, and nutrients. Based on studies, using drone sprayer can reduce pesticide volume by up to 30-40%, minimize pilferage of chemicals, and save water up to 90%.

She also said that she learned about using animal manure as organic fertilizer.

Like Buan who mentioned that mechanization may capture the youth’s interest in farming, Robert Grantoza, president of Personas Farmers Association from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, also shared that the demo on machines grabbed his attention.

“Farming expenses in Calapan are very expensive that’s why I allotted my attention to mechanization. I learned that we could lessen our expenses through the right land preparation and the utilization of machineries,” he said.

Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago, 2nd district representative of Nueva Ecija, said that the Department of Agriculture is committed to helping farmers and fisherfolk increase their income and reduce their production costs.

During the event, he announced that almost P1B is allocated as subsidy on fuel costs while P20B is budgeted for fertilizer and seeds. Subsidies worth P6,000 and P5,000 will also be given for fertilizer and seeds, respectively.

With this year’s theme, “Bukid Tipid Tips, Subukan!,” Lakbay Palay also introduced PhilRice experts who emphasized that the use of farming technologies such as alternate wetting and drying through an observation well, combine harvester and right fertilizer application, could help them save P7,000, P3,250 and P2,600 per hectare respectively.

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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