The FutureRice program of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) organized an art competition to help strengthen the Institute’s campaign against the burning of rice straw, locally known as dayami, Oct. 14.
Six teams of farmers, students, and PhilRice staff members participated in the event. They were given art frames of beneficial insects in the field and popular characters in the movies. The frames were then creatively covered using rice straw. Entries were judged based on creativity, cleanliness, and teamwork.
“We hope to encourage our farmers to completely stop burning of rice straws and explore its other uses,” said Marian Rikka Anora, PhilRice researcher.
PhilRice data showed that burning of rice straws, generally practiced during the harvest season, causes air pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulphur dioxide. If continually done, it will decrease the soil’s nitrogen, phosphorus by 25%, potassium by 20%, and sulfur by 5-60%. The practice also damages food resources of beneficial insects in the rice field.
For this reason, the competition also aims to raise awareness of farmers and other rice stakeholders on the uses of rice straw.
“We learned here that aside from arts, there are a lot of ways to use rice straw. It can serve as another source of energy and fertilizer, and be used for mushroom production,” said Lourdes B. Ariola, a resident of Brgy. Maligaya.
Winners of the competition took home a trophy and brown and milled rice.
Grand prize: Ladybug by the residents of Purok I, Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz.
Second prize: Spider by the students of St. Elizabeth Global College of Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
Third prize: Ironman by PhilRice laborers.