The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday it is developing a strategy that will promote the planting of hybrid seeds to 1.5 million hectares of rice land during the dry season.
In a statement, the DA said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who heads the agency, approved the adoption of hybrid rice varieties that will help local farmers enhance their crop production.
The Agriculture Department added it is looking at expanding hybrid rice production in Regions 6, 8, 12 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions have already adopted the hybrid rice technology, it said.
The DA said it is also launching a financial and credit program that will persuade farmers to shift to hybrid rice.
This year, the agency earmarked P30 billion in funds under the National Rice Program for the provision of hybrid and inbred or certified seeds, production-related and post-harvest machinery, small-scale irrigation, as well as extension and training activities.
The amount earmarked is on top of the P10- billion Rice Enhancement Competitiveness Fund (RCEF) sourced from the excess tariff collected under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which aims to improve the competitiveness of farmers.
“Iyong koleksyon natin noong nakaraang taon – dahil sa Rice Tariffication Law – ay umabot sa P22 billion. So meron tayong excess collection na P12B na maibabahagi sa ilalim ng RFFA (Rice Farmer Financial Assistance),” said DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa.
(Our collection last year due to the Rice Tariffication law reached P22 billion. So we have an excess collection of P12 billion that can be distributed under the RFFA.)
Apart from expanding financial support to local farmers through the loan financing program, the DA said Marcos also committed to bring the best farming practices used by Central Luzon farmers to the rest of the country.
Based on a joint study by the DA and local government units (LGUs), the hybrid system has produced 41% higher yield than inbred conventional seeds for the past two years.
The President expressed optimism that the country will attain its rice self-sufficiency target within two years with the use of hybrid seeds. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News