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A mayor in the Ilocos region considered the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) based in Batac City, Ilocos Norte an agro-tourism site.

“The mecca of rice, PhilRice Batac is an agro-tourism site while this field day is a tourist attraction for the [Home of the Great Leaders],” Jeffrey Jubal C. Nalupta, mayor of Batac City, said in his welcome remarks during the station’s recent Farmers’ Field Day and Forum.

Nalupta, who ordered 100 bags of NSIC Rc238 (Tubigan 21) and Rc240 (Tubigan 22) to be distributed to the city’s farmers come next season, lauded the technologies showcased in the event.

The varieties, which was released last year, registered an average yield of 6.4 t/ha and maximum yield potential of 10.6 t/ha.  NSIC Rc238 matures in 100 days while Rc240 could be harvested after 115 days.

Meanwhile, Dr. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang, PhilRice deputy executive director for development, said that farmers could increase their yield to 6-10 t/ha.

“The good news, we could help you increase your harvest if you would adopt the new farming technologies that we are showcasing to you today,” Quilang said.

More than 600 farmers learned about the off-season vegetable production, low-cost drip irrigation system, and newly released inbred and hybrid rice varieties.

Quilang also encouraged rice consumers to help the country in its bid to rice self-sufficiency. He said that each Filipino wastes 2 tablespoons of cooked rice every day that when not wasted, this could result in import savings as high as P6.2 billion and could feed 2.6 million hungry Filipinos in a year.

He also urged the participants to eat alternative crop staples such as banana, camote, gabi, and corn because they are healthy sources of carbohydrates.

“We are eating too much rice because we think that this is our primary energy source. The recommended amount of rice is only a little more than one-fourth of the plate. So [extra rice is extra unhealthy carbs]. Let’s try the alternative staples as they are high in vitamins and minerals and has more dietary fibers than rice,” he said.

Showing support to the country’s goal of being rice self-sufficient, Ilocos-based Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies, Batac City officials, farmers, and students lighted candles to symbolize their commitment to conserve rice.

PhilRice stations in San Mateo, Isabela; Ligao City, Albay; RTRomualdez, Agusan Norte; and Murcia, Negros Occidental also conducted Farmers’ Field Day and Forum in their area of coverage from September to October.

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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