Rice farmers in Buenavista, Quezon had experienced more harvest with public hybrid Mestiso 20 (M20), some of them even calling it “miracle seed.”

“In my 16 years of farming, this is my first time to harvest this big! Before, I’m happy with 120 cavans. But when I switched to planting hybrid seeds like M20, amazingly, I harvested 178 cavans per hectare this season,” farmer Michael Delos Santos said.

With the harvest, the 47-year-old farmer said that he was able to pay his debt and sustain his family’ needs.

“In fact, I lend money now,” he said.

Delos Santos is one of the 46 farmers who tried hybrid rice after joining the Farmers Field School conducted by their local government unit. Although farmers have tried other hybrid rice varieties such as the Pioneer 73/77/79, SL8, SL18, M38, they planted M20 last dry season as this is the only available seeds for technology demonstration from the provincial agricultural office in Region 4.

Michael Delos Santos enjoys higher profit after planting M20 (2nd from left)

“Farmers here have tried inbred and hybrid varieties. But M20, we can call it a miracle seed,” Nanelle Quinto, town’s rice coordinator and one of the agricultural technicians said.

When El Niño hit the province’s fourth-class municipality, Quinto said that M20 surpassed their expectation as it survived limited water supply and the occurrence of drought-related diseases.

“M20 gave us hope. It was resilient amidst unfavorable weather condition and gave us higher yield,” she said.

Meanwhile, Alvin Ray Rivera, Buenavista vice-mayor and 8-year farmer, recommended M20 to fellow rice tillers as it contributed to Buenavista’s rank as top rice-producing municipality in Quezon. The town’s highest yield was recorded at 8.3 t/ha using M20. Bred by PhilRice and UPLB, M20 yields 6.4 to 11.7t/ha. It matures in 111 days after sowing, and is moderately resistant to yellow stem borer, green leafhopper, and brown plant hopper.

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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