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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nat'l scientist challenges farmers to produce enough rice

Dr. Gelia T. Castillo, national scientist and member of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Board of Trustees, challenged Mindanao farmers to improve their yield during the recent Farmers’ Field Day and Forum in PhilRice Agusan in Basilisa, Remedios T. Romualdez, Agusan del Norte.

Close to 1,000 farmers, students, representatives of local government units, and members of the press from Regions 10, 11, and 13, attended the activity.

Recognizing the issues on food production, Castillo said “farmers have a huge role to play” in producing more rice to feed the ballooning population.

“The Caraga region has slightly higher per capita rice availability (129 kg) than the national average (119 kg).....The challenge now is how to increase rice productivity so the region can contribute to Philippine rice self-sufficiency,” Castillo said.

Castillo stressed that 27 percent of the country’s population are in 26 marginal provinces while 17 and 16 percent are in non-rice producing cities in the National Capital Region and non-rice producing provinces, respectively. To feed this population and for the country to be rice self-sufficient in 2013, Castillo urged farmers in provinces with higher per capita rice availability to increase their production.

Castillo noted that the farmers’ inquisitiveness and their eagerness to bring their children to PhilRice experimental fields to learn with them show the tillers’ determination in improving their yield.

Meanwhile, PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr. assured farmers that the Institute will intensify rice research and development efforts in Mindanao as some of the country’s poorest farmers are in the region. In Northern Mindanao and in Davao and Caraga regions, the areas covered by PhilRice Agusan, wet and very wet climatic conditions limit the farmers in attaining high yield.

To help farmers attain high yield, PhilRice-developed varieties such as NSIC Rc160, a variety with an average yield of about 6 t/ha. The variety, with a maximum yield of 8 t/ha, was the farmers’ most preferred among the other varieties owing to its good eating quality and yield.
NSIC Rc160 is also good for ratooning or letting the rice plant produce new tillers after harvesting the crop.

“It feels great learning that farmers like the variety we bred at PhilRice,” said Dr. Manuel Jose C. Regalado, PhilRice deputy executive director for research.

Regalado also announced that the Department of Agriculture will train farmers’ associations on seed production to improve their capability in producing their own high-quality seeds.
DA-PhilRice is a government-owned and –controlled corporation that aims at developing high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

For more information, please visit or contact DA-PhilRice at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija with telephone number (044) 456-0285 loc 511/512 or any PhilRice station near you. You may also visit their website at www.philrice.gov.ph or text your questions to 0920-911-1398. PHILIPPINE RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (PhilRice)

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