Lakbay PalayIn the light of the El Niño phenomenon, farmers learned climate change-ready technologies in rice production during the recently concluded Lakbay-Palay at the PhilRice’s Central Experiment Station in Nueva Ecija, March 31 and April 1.

Through field tours and open forum, rice experts taught farmers how to cope with climate change by using climate-smart technologies such as the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology, ecological engineering, and rice-based agribiosystems.

AWD, developed by IRRI, is a technology to efficiently manage water in the rice fields. The technology is relevant in water scarce areas. Ecological engineering, on the other hand, is a strategy to manage rice pests by planting ornamentals near the rice paddies.

The rice-based agribiosystems complex showed how farmers can diversify their income by venturing into other rice-based enterprises. Specifically, the mushroom production was highlighted.

“We intend to show the various strategies farmers can do to cope with climate change,” says Dr. Calixto M. Protacio, PhilRice executive director.

Lakbay-Palay is a PhilRice major activity done twice yearly, one each for dry and wet seasons. It gathers thousands of farmers as well as students, researchers, and decision makers from different provinces.

More than 2,000 farmers from Iloilo, Ilocos, and Central Luzon provinces participated in the said event.

PhilRice also showed its Palayabangan site, a contest among rice producers, individuals or institutions, aimed at reducing cost of production. The target is to show how to produce 10 tons of rice at P5/kg input.

Reducing production cost is central to making the Filipino farmers competitive in the ASEAN economic integration regime.

Usapang Magsasaka technology videos on AWD and ecological engineering were launched during the event.

Philippine Crop Insurance Company President, Atty. Jovy C. Bernabe and DA Sec. Proceso J. Alcala served as guest speakers.

Wet season Lakbay-Palay is slated in September this year.

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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