Written by Alfred Franco T Caballero
These days, farmers in Tabuc, Kalinga are getting high on hybrid rice. One among them is Michael Lumas-i. Like the proverbial early bird, he is one of the firsts to reap the benefits from hybrid rice. In fact, his success with hybrid rice is reflected in his being the recipient of the first ever Gawad Saka Outstanding Hybrid Rice Farmer Award.
Lumas-i started planting hybrid rice around 2004 where before, he planted inbred varieties such as NSIC Rc155 and IR64. Back then, he used to harvest only 120-130 cav/ha or 6-6.5 t/ha. Wanting to increase his income, he participated in many of the government’s projects and became an active farmer-cooperator in the Farmers-Led Extension Project of the Department of Agriculture under the Philippine Rice Program.
Initially, he harvested an average of 180cav/ha using commercial seeds such as Bigante. However, with consistent participation in the government’s projects and perseverance, Lumas-i increased his harvest to 12.5t/ha from his PSB Rc72H (M1), which won him the award. The PalayCheck System brought about his success. “PhilRice and the government’s intervention was a big help for me. Through their projects, my farming business improved and I was able to achieve my dreams for my family,” said Lumas-i. He has now built a good home for his family, sent his children to school, even bought himself a hauling truck, and can now afford sending his youngest daughter to study culinary arts, which is very expensive.
Lumas-i is very grateful for his success. That is why he encourages his neighbors to participate in government programs. According to him, the benefits from the technologies that the government and PhilRice promote are beneficial and attainable. Unfortunately, doubts, speculations, and lack of farmers’ support that sometimes overshadow gains. That is why as president of the local irrigators’ association, he always discuss in their meetings government projects and the benefits that may derive from them. He also made sure that the machines and assets (flat-bed dryer, thresher, and two multi-purpose drying pavements) of the irrigators association were installed in lands common to the farmer-users.
Hybrid rice was developed by cross-breeding three lines – male-sterile, maintainer, and restorer lines – to come up with commercial hybrid rice line (F1). A successful hybrid must yield 15% higher than its inbred counterpart, an advantage over conventional varieties because of heterosis or hybrid vigor.
PhilRice makes available hybrid rice varieties such as PSB Rc 72H (M1) and NSIC Rc 130H (M7), with PhilRice Isabela leading the institute’s efforts in hybrid rice research.
Getting high on hybrid rice is one sure economic and farming formula that works.