The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) held a one-day training for more than 2,800 farmers, agricultural extension workers, students and other stakeholders early this week, with the aim of helping the yield per hectare of the country’s rice farms that is currently pegged at 4 to 5 metric tons per hectare.
A total of give PhilRice branch stations conducted the farmers’ field days.
“Our farmers’ field days are one of our ways to bring the technologies to our farmers. They also serve as an opportunity for us to brief our farmers about our new programs that could help them become more competitive by adopting our technologies,” said PhilRice Executive Director Sailila Abdula.
PhilRice Batac station in Ilocos Norte showcased new climate-resilient technologies like the treadle pump, a water lifting device that uses renewable energy and low-cost drip irrigation system for dragon fruit cactus production. With almost 850 participants, the station taught farmers how to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
PhilRice Los Baños (LB) station in Laguna toured over 200 participants from neighboring municipalities and provinces in its hybrid seed production area to encourage farmers to plant hybrid rice. A technology forum was also conducted focusing on the advantages of public hybrid seeds in increasing yield.
Tomas Masajo, a hybrid rice expert at PhilRice LB, emphasized during his lecture that public hybrid should be promoted to provide labor opportunities in seed production and distribution.
Supporting the Department of Agricuture’s farm mechanization program spearheaded by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, PhilRice Negros Occidental introduced farm machines to about 500 farmers, students and local project implementers during the Lakbay Palay activity. The farm machines showcased included the mechanical transplanter, four-wheel tractor, turtle and microtillers, combine harvester and reaper.
In PhilRice Agusan de Norte, farm technologies and business opportunities in agriculture were presented to more than 900 farmers, project implementers and local stakeholders. DA Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James Monteagudo promoted the hybrid rice program of the government and encouraged farmers to engage in agribusiness to help boost their incomes.
The station also involved indigenous people from Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, and soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division (Philippine Army) from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, to further strengthen their ties as partners in delivering developmental initiatives.
PhilRice Bicol in Albay, on the other hand, launched the RiceBIS Community Program during its field day. RiceBIS stands for Rice Business Innovations System. It is a new development program of PhilRice to help increase farmer’s yield, lower their production cost, and link them to business development service providers. With Aurora Corales, RiceBIS project lead, the station gathered 366 cooperative members and extension workers from the Bicol region.