IN an effort to help farmers in Cagayan Valley boost their harvests and incomes, the Department of Agriculture (DA) under its Rice Model Farm program is pushing for the utilization of hybrid rice varieties this coming rice planting season.
Cagayan Valley or Region 2 comprises the five provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, Cagayan and Batanes island.
DA Cagayan Valley Executive Director Narciso Edillo said the use of hybrid rice varieties can help farmers achieve higher yield that also means higher income for their families.
He said hybrid rice can significantly out yield other rice varieties particularly the conventional ones.
“This has been proven by many farmers particularly in Cagayan and Isabela provinces who have been harvesting up to 200 cavans [50-kilo sacks] of rice per hectare by shifting to hybrid rice,” Edillo said.
He cited farmers in Barangay (village) Remebella in Buguey town in Cagayan province who were able to produce more than 230 cavans of rice per hectare using hybrid rice.
According to Buguey town Municipal Agriculturist Danilo Rumpon, there are now 200 hectares of rice lands in the town being planted to hybrid rice and still increasing.
Edillo said he is hoping that through the implementation of the DA’s Rice Model Farm program in the region, they will be able to promote and convince more farmers to shift to high-yielding rice varieties
“As of now, we already have at least 7,000 farmers enrolled in our Rice Model Farm program and we are conducting field days in the different municipalities in the region to show the performance of hybrid rice varieties which is higher [in yield]compared to the conventional ones,” he said.
DA-Cagayan Valley officials said they are setting plans to orient more farmers on hybrid rice farming, particularly those in far-flung areas who may have no idea yet on high-yielding varieties.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has been working with its partners to develop new and improved hybrid rice varieties.
Based on studies made by IRRI, China’s hybrid rice-breeding program averted an impending famine in the 1970s, and today, hybrid rice closes yield gaps evident in many areas.
The IRRI said that because hybrid rice can out yield other varieties of rice, it is a key technology that meets the increasing global demand for rice.
“We want that the utilization of hybrid seeds in the region will be increased to be able to reach our target for the country to become rice-self sufficient,” Edillo said.
He added that bountiful harvests by farmers in Cagayan Valley would mean that they earn higher incomes while rice becomes more affordable to consumers.