A GROUP of rice farmers in Agusan del Sur has petitioned the Department of Agriculture to distribute hybrid rice seeds that they consider best for their soil to ensure success of hybrid expansion targeted by the DA to reach to one million hectares.
In a letter to DA Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, the Awasian Irrigators Association (IA) in Rosario town pressed for a government policy that is more liberal in granting farmers seeds that would give them the best yield.
The Awasian IA, led by Jerson Cuenca, asked Pinol that their preference be given consideration in order to
make the rice sufficiency program successful.
The policy on procurement, which would be awarded to the lowest bidder, is based on the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003 or Republic Act 9184.
In Nueva Ecija, Ricardo Buenaventura, president of Nagkakaisang Magsasaka Agricultural Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (NMAP-MPC), said the DA’s seed procurement should not just be based on the lowest-priced ones alone.
Buenaventura urged the government not only to encourage more hybrid seed production but also to look at hybrid seed producers’ after-sales service to farmers.
Quality in hybrid seeds is based primarily on yield compared to inbreds that only reap three to five metric tons (MT) per hectare.
Glazeline Cosino, of Poblacion Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, said not all hybrid seeds are suitable to the climate in Agusan del Sur, where flooding is prevalent.
Cosino was one of the first ones to use hybrid seeds in Agusan del Sur seven years ago during which she has gained experience on what good hybrids to use.
Dennis Tejada of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, pointed out that some farmers simply do not have the cash to buy seeds in advance.