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The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Murcia, Negros will widen its hybrid rice seed production area supporting Department of Agriculture (DA) Sec. Proceso J. Alcala’s request for expansion during his station visit, Sept. 11.

Engr. Leo C. Javier, PhilRice branch manager, said DA is targeting 1,000 ha to be planted in Visayas and Mindanao starting this year until 2013 as strategy to help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency.

“These main islands are tapped to produce the seeds of newly commercialized hybrid rice varieties, Mestiso 19 (NSIC Rc202H) and Mestiso 20 (NSIC Rc204H), which will be planted in 50,000 ha rice farms across the country in 2013,” he said.

With Alcala’s request, Javier said the station’s 61-ha seed production area may be devoted to hybrid rice while inbred seed production could be contracted out.

“Through contract out, the landowner will produce the required seeds and shoulder the production and harvest expenses. PhilRice will dry, clean, and bag the seeds; and pay the landowner with the commercial palay price,” he said.

Expansion could also be done through renting rice farms, entailing PhilRice to cover production expenses and labor.

Responding to the request of DA-Regional Field Unit VI (RFU VI), PhilRice Negros also contracted 8 ha of nearby farms to produce high quality seeds of newly-released and climate-change ready rice varieties.

Javier said the region will buy the seeds to be distributed to seed growers and farmers in irrigated and adverse environments.

Meanwhile, the DA secretary requested RFU VI to provide PhilRice Negros with 38 hp tractor and rice combine harvester. Earlier, Alcala approved the release of PhP10M for the concreting of a farm-to-market road that connects the station to Bacolod City.

Together with PhilRice executive director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., Alcala surveyed the crop stand of traditional and aromatic rice varieties and conventionally- and organically-grown hybrids and inbreds.

Prior to his visit to the station, Alcala and his team were in Bago City to launch the Three Cropping Rice project, Cash for Work program, and turn-over ceremonies.

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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