Written by the Web Team
Farmers who attended the the PhilRice Batac grand field day (FD) held on October 22 were convinced that it is possible to achieve higher yields with lower costs, which is what the Palayabangan: The 10-5 Challenge of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) wants to demonstrate.
“This seems distant for now, but with the correct technology, it will be possible,” said Leo Inocencio, project leader of PhilRice Batac Palayabangan entry.
Besides PhilRice Batac, the other entries to the Palayabangan Challenge were from SL Agritech and Syngenta. The FD participants, especially the farmers, eventually agreed that it was possible to achieve 10 tons per hectare with a production cost of P5 per kilo upon viewing the different varieties entered into the competition, namely: NSIC Rc240, NSIC RC224H, NSIC Rc202H, SL18, and NK5070.
The current average yield of rice lands in the Philippines is four tons per hectare of palay (unmilled rice), while cost of inputs is around P11 per kilogram. The Palayabangan: The 10-5 Challenge supports the advocacies of the National Year of Rice (NYR) to help the country attain rice self-sufficiency.
Other highlights of the field day were the NYR dance competition, soft launching of the book 101 Ways to Prepare Brown Rice, and demonstration by school pupils on the preparation of brown rice recipes.
Also motivating the group attending the FD and serving as inspirational speaker was Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Chair on Committee on Agriculture Albert D. Chua. He encouraged farmers to treat their farming activities as a business enterprise, and that they should evolve from passive farmers into open-minded farmers who accept change, particularly on the use of new technologies. He further stressed that now is the time to do away with the old ways of rice production, and try new ways of farming.
Dr. Paz Monez, Regional Technical Director for Operations of Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office I, also commended PhilRice Batac for conducting the FD. She said that field days are effective venues to promote different farming production technologies. She also encouraged farmers to adopt new technologies to improve their yields and income.
Meanwhile, among those who gained knowledge and information during the FD on raising yields for rice farms was Jesus Asuncion of Malibcong, Abra.
The town of Malibcong is 83.65 kilometers away from Bangued, Abra and could only be reached by barge during the raining season. Asuncion said that he and his fellow farmers needed to cross seven rivers using a barge, and ride on a public utility jeep that travels once only each day at about 100 kilometers away from Bangued, Abra. Nonetheless, Asuncion and his fellow farmers arrived at the venue very late on the night before the field day.
However, he said that the hardships he and his companions encountered to reach Batac were trivial compared with the knowledge they were able to gain. He is now confident that their one- to two-ton per hectare yield in Malibcong will increase with the adoption of the practices and information they obtained from the field day.
The FD delegation from Malibcong was composed of eight farmers and Local Government Unit officers headed by the Municipal Agriculturist, Cecilia Labbagan. She said that the farmers shelled out their own money to attend the FD at Batac.
Asuncion is an active farmer-partner of PhilRice Batac, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office for the Cordillera Administrative Region, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Abra, and the Local Government Unit-Malibcong collaborative project, “Development of Appropriate Farming Systems for the Uplands of Abra through the Palayamanan.”