Written by the Web Team
The development group of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is helping the country achieve rice self-sufficiency through its initiatives conducted last year, which were presented during the recent three-day Development Roadmap Planning Workshop held at the Institute’s Central Experiment Station in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
The initiatives, which included trainings, extension modalities, and the completed location-specific technology development project (LSTD), contributed to the increase in farmers’ yield and income and had enhanced good practices in rice farming.
In North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, adoption of PalayCheck, an integrated crop management system for rice, and use of recommended varieties increased farmers’ yield from less than 4 t/ha to about 6 t/ha. Farmers in these areas found NSIC Rc158, Rc160, Rc212, Rc214, Rc216, and Rc222 to be suitable while 68 percent of farmers who attended the field days conducted by PhiRice station in Midsayap, North Cotabato, perceived Minus One Element Technique and Leaf Color Chart as useful tools in reducing fertilizers costs.
Adaptability tests of newly released varieties also showed that Mestizo 19 and 20, newly released hybrid rice varieties, and Tubigan 22 (NSIC Rc240), an inbred variety, performed well in San Mateo, Isabela and Iguig, Cagayan after registering an average grain yield of 8-10 t/ha.
The group, led by Deputy Executive Director for Development Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang, also helped in buffering rice seed supply in Negros Occidental from 45-130 percent through the TechFlow project and implemented innovations in reaching more extension workers and farmers through videoconferencing and integrating the use of cellphones on radio programs.
PhilRice enhanced the skills of Mangyan farmers in Mindoro by training them in Palayamanan, a diversified rice-based farming system, and the capacities of Abra women in promoting technologies to their fellow farmers.
Meanwhile, PhilRice station in Batac, Ilocos Norte helped the seed growers in their areas gain an average income of PhP 77, 052 /ha in a cropping season through its technical assistance.
In last year’s wet season, the completed LSTD program had established 535 technology demonstration sites and Farmers’ Field Schools across the country. Program implementers have also trained about 400 rice specialists since 2008. Moreover, 170 technology packages were developed, which the local government units could implement in their locality.
With the group’s accomplishments, PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio T. Rasco urged the development workers to continue innovating and improvising so “we can face new challenges and [utilize] opportunities in [sustaining] the Institute’s core goals: sustainability, sufficiency and competitiveness.”