University Extension Associate
Capiz State University
“Bawat butil ng palay ay buhay; butil na tutugon sa suliranin ng kagutuman ng bayan.”
This statement formed part of the Panata para sa Higit na Masaganang Ani or the Pledge for Food Self Sufficiency and Increased Food Production read by Ms. Teresita Badilla, technology services specialist; and Mr. Bernie Protacio, information services specialist (ISS) of the Dumalag Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center.
Both employees were awarded Outstanding Rice Achievers or Bosing ng Palayan for the province of Capiz by the Department of Agriculture (DA) during the 2011 Rice Achievers’ Awards: Mga Bosing ng Palayan held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on February 10, 2012.
No less than Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala led the awarding rites for the top performing 10 provinces, 50 municipalities and cities and 157 agricultural extension workers (AEWs) across the country. The AEWs were trimmed down to this figure out of 500 potential awardees.
Both AEWS were given Php20,000 checks; while the municipality will be given one million pesos in the form of projects to be implemented through the local government of Dumalag. The prize will be intended to boost rice production and depending on the proposal of the recipient municipality. According to FITS Manager Ronelyn De Tomas, the Dumalag LGU proposed for the provision of service vehicles for the use of their agriculture and other related services.
According to Manager De Tomas, Dumalag FITS Center satisfactorily passed the required criteria for evaluation, which included Number of farmer beneficiaries; manpower deployed to the rice program Agriculture and fishery profile; Rice Self-Sufficiency (RSSP) Road Map; rice production data; increase in rice yield; increase in rice production area; and budget allocation by the LGU. Since 2006, Dumalag FITS Center has been transparent in its records and agricultural data have been made accessible. The FITS Center likewise also acknowledged that the initiatives particularly for rice production have been funded by the local government unit.
First time to be launched this year, the 2011 Agri Pinoy Rice Achievers Awards aims to highlight the contribution of top performing provinces, cities, municipalities and AEWs as important stakeholders in achieving rice self-sufficiency by increasing palay production. The awards were given to sustain awareness, solicit support and encourage the commitment of LGUs to the DA’s Rice Self-Sufficiency Program (RSSP).
According to TSS Badilla, Dumalag recorded a notable increase in rice production through their widespread promotion of hybrid rice. After introducing hybrid rice in 2002, the Dumalag FITS Center continued its promotion until October, when they led the so-called Compact Demo Farm on some 60 hectares of rice in barangay Duran, Dumalag, Capiz. Their initiative benefited some 78 farmers in the locality, with average highest yield at 9.5 metric tons per hectare and 190 cavans per hectare. To ascertain its adaptability, Badilla and Protacio led the second cropping benefiting 95 farmers spread across 87 hectares in the same barangay. The average highest yield was 10.75 metric tons per hectare and 233 cavans per hectare.
From July to October 2011, 45-year-old Jimmy Febrada recorded an average of 176 bags per hectare planted to NSIC Rc 210H or Mestizo 23; while 44-year-old Glicerio Febrada harvested 173 bags of NSIC Rc 124H, otherwise known as Mestizo 6, or Bigante for the same cropping.
According to ISS Protacio, one Jimmy Febrada discovered the goodness of hybrid rice by accident. At first, he was not convinced of its quality and high yield. But when he used the leftover seeds of neighbor farmer Amelita Panes for the first cropping this year, the three bags of Mestizo 8 or TEJ yielded a total of 176 cavans, a far cry from the usual 29 cavans of inbred variety he used in the same area. Based on Dumalag FITS Center’s records, the average yield of the farmers planting hybrid rice is normally high, while inbred rice normally posts lower figures than the hybrid counterparts in the same areas.
Meanwhile, 45-year old Billy Fruponga of barangay Duran who has been planting the Bigante variety for four years. For the last cropping season, Fruponga yielded some 140 cavans from the 10 kilograms of rice seeds he planted in one hectare, as compared to the 30-sack yield of the 212 variety he yields from direct seeding.
TSS Badilla reported that farmers have been taught the conventional practices in farming in growing hybrid varieties, from cultivation to land preparation to weeding to farm maintenance. Badilla said that the high average yield of the hybrid rice in Dumalag, particularly Bigante, is attributed to its compatibility with the soil of the municipality.
More recently, the Dumalag FITS Center led the conduct of hybrid rice production across the 33 hectares in barangay San Rafael in January 2011, which benefited 49 farmers. This yielded average of 7.7 metric tons per hectare, adding to 176 cavans per hectare.
Since 2009, Dumalag FITS Center has promoted hybrid rice production to the 19 barangays of the municipality. They promoted it through rice field days, farm demos, harvest festivals and similar other events which encouraged farmers to appreciate the advantages of growing hybrid rice in their production.
According to Protacio, while their efforts must have influenced most farmers in their locality, they cannot give the exact number of rice farmers engaged in this production because hybrid rice seeds are highly accessible anywhere. For them, it is enough that some 5,000 farmers registered in their municipality have been virtually made aware of the benefits of hybrid rice production.
Forty-two-year-old Amparo Fran of barangay Duran, who has been engaged in hybrid rice farming since 2008, noted that except for one case of planthopper infestation in 2010, her hybrid rice yield is usually twice the yield of inbred rice in every cropping. “Pirmi daku nga ganansya kon hybrid rice ang ginatanom ko (There is always profit if I grow hybrid rice.).” Fran also said that their lives have improved owing to hybrid rice production.
These testimonies attest that Dumalag FITS Center excelled in their efforts to raise the level of rice sufficiency in their locality, which best qualified them for the said awards. And to sustain this award-winning and worthy undertaking, they have built Hybrid Rice Demo Farm in areas owned by two farmer cooperators in barangays Sta. Carmen and Sto. Rosario, which also serve as laboratories for the Farmers’ Field School (FFS) led by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
According to Protacio, Dumalag FITS Center will host a Hybrid Rice Farm Tour sometime in April and this will feature standing crops and yield for showcase to the farmers and the community.