Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bicol rice production up despite El Niño dry spell

By Sally Atento-Altea

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 16 (PIA) – Bicol region is the only region in the country expected to increase its rice production and harvest area from July to December this year despite below normal rainfall condition in most of its provinces.

“Based on the standing crop in the region for July to September, some 202,923 metric tons of palay will be produced or harvested which is higher over last year’s output  of 180,296 metric tons in the same period  or  12.55% increase,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol information officer Emily Bordado said citing the crop estimates and forecasts by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Bordado said rice production increase in the region is attributed to the aggressive campaign and implementation of the High Yielding Technology Adoption (HYTA) Program of the Department of Agriculture.

“This program calls for the planting of high yielding varieties that are also early-maturing, resistant to diseases and resilient to various stressors such as flood, drought, heat and salinity,” she explained.

Aside from hybrid rice and certified seeds, multi-trait new rice lines called Green Super Rice (GSR) developed by the International Rice Research Institute were initially tested in several pilot areas of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and DA special projects on Climate Change Adaptation.  Among these varieties for lowland are GSR8, GSR5a, NSIC RC18 (sub1) and drought /flood tolerant varieties like GSR 11, 5a, and GSR2 in upland and rainfed areas.

“Because of their   high yield and stress tolerance to    various ecosystems  and weather  conditions these GSR lines have now been adopted by some 3,842 farmers in the region have boosted the  rice production output of  Bicol,” she furthered.

The total incremental production for 2015 resulting from the use of hybrid and certified seeds under the HYTA program in the dry and wet cropping seasons of 2015 reaches 25,081.80 MT.

In dry season of 2014 – 2015 (Sept. 2014- March 2015 planting), a total of 5,551 hectares was planted with hybrids providing 9,991.90 MT increase in production. While 1,764 hectares have been planted with certified seeds providing 1,441.20 MT increase in rice production.

For wet season 2015 (March-Sept planting), 6,026 hectares have been planted with hybrid rice giving an incremental yield of 1.8 MT/ha totaling 10,846.80 MT. While 3,540 hectares has been planted with certified seeds with a computed yield increment of 0.8 MT/hectare, registering an increase in production of 2,832.00 MT.

For 2016, the projected increase in production is 25,750 MT if the target 10,000 hectares for hybrid rice and 5,000 hectares for certified seeds will be achieved.

 Bordado said that under the HYTA program a farmer cooperator is provided with 1 bag hybrid or inbred certified seeds to be paid to his association after harvest.  A bag of inbred seeds is equivalent to 40 kilograms while a bag of hybrid can range from 15-18 kg per hectare.  Also, provided are  fertilizers at 2 bags (50 kg/bag) or less per hectare and/or other soil ameliorants including Zinc  may also be  provided  based on the assessment of the DA regional office.

Other timely DA interventions such as water pumps, farm machineries and equipment, post harvest facilities technical assistance and crop insurance also contributed to ensure rice sufficiency in the region despite the threats of climate change and adverse ecological conditions.

Bordado cited various irrigators associations in the region who have testified on the benefits of the HYTA program.

According to Stepany Breboneria, president of Barlin Irrigators Association in Baao, Camarines Sur, more than 200 of their farmer members have availed of the HYTA and harvested an average yield of 110 cavans in a hectare for hybrid and 82 cavans/ha for inbred rice. Ruth Moore, president of PESAMASOR Federation of Sorsogon, said 40 farmer members have availed of the HYTA and harvested an average yield of 120 cavans per hectare of hybrid rice.

Nena Lota, president of Imalnod Farmers Association in Legazpi City is one of the cooperators of this program and a first time user of hybrid seeds.  She  received 15 kg of hybrid  along with 2 sacks urea, 2 liters organic foliar fertilizer and 2 sachet humus plus. She also obtained water pump and laminated sacks from the DA and is very optimistic of higher yield based on the stand of the rice crop on her farm.

Another farmer, Edilberto Trilles shared that since he started using hybrid in 1988 in his .75 hectare upland rainfed   rice farm the lowest yield he obtained was 114 cavans and the highest is 130 cavans.  He said he practices organic farming and uses chicken dung as basal fertilizer to rejuvenate the soil.

City agriculturist Jess Kallos of Legazpi  affirmed the increase in number of hybrid seeds takers this year.  Based on their record only 80 hectares were planted to hybrid in previous croppings but this has recently expanded to 214 hectares.  He bared that the average palay yield of their farmers using certified seeds was 80 to 90 cavans but with hybrid seeds the average yield of their farmers has increased to 120 cavans per hectare.   He also enthused that their city was only 32% sufficient in rice in 2014 but with HYTA 1.5% increase was registered in the last cropping.

Bordado went on that although  Bicol region’s climate outlook for  September to January 2016 indicates  below normal  or reduced rainfall and increased  temperature in most  of its provinces  and way below normal rainfall in October in all its provinces,  this shall  favor harvesting  as well as post harvest processing  (rice and corn) but can reduce yield on vegetable crops .

DA Bicol regional executive director Abelardo R. Bragas likewise noted that contingency plan  for El Niño has been prepared anchored on four strategies namely:  optimize production in non-threatened areas; minimize losses in threatened areas; convert to other  crops and prepare for rehabilitation.

Interventions to mitigate El Niño include water management such as provision of shallow tube wells and pump irrigation systems in open sources (PISOS).  Production support will also be provided such as fertilizers to non-threatened areas; distribution of drought tolerant varieties; insurance subsidy to vulnerable areas and seed production of drought tolerant varieties.

Bordado added trainings, briefings, assessments and workshops with stakeholders, program implementers and LGUs will be regularly conducted along with periodic monitoring and reporting.  Information campaign via the quad media will also be undertaken.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2571442220030/bicol-rice-production-up-despite-el-ni-o-dry-spell#sthash.eJqw8GPU.dpuf

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