DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
2023 February 17
A strategy plan is now being developed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) that will promote the planting of hybrid seeds to 1.5 million hectares of rice land during the dry season, Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel De Mesa said during a briefing on Thursday, February 16.
This was after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved the adoption of hybrid rice varieties that will help local farmers enhance their crop production.
The President, who also is also the DA Secretary, is optimistic that the country will attain its rice self-sufficiency target within two years with the use of hybrid seeds.
The DA is looking at expanding 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.
The DA will also launch a financial and credit program that will persuade farmers to shift to hybrid rice.
“Ipinag-utos ng ating Pangulo na siguruhing mabigyan ang ating mga kababayan na nagtatanim ng palay ng sapat na suporta kagaya ng patubig, fertilizer at iba pang ayuda katulad ng Rice Farmers Financial Assistance. Ang mga ito ay nararapat na maibigay sa tamang panahon,” (Our President has ordered the government to ensure that our countrymen who cultivate rice are provided with adequate support such as irrigation, fertilizer and other aid such as Rice Farmers Financial Assistance. They should be provided at the right time) De Mesa pointed out.
Apart from expanding financial support to local farmers through the loan financing program, President Marcos 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.
In 2023, the DA 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.
This is on top of the P10B-Rice Enhancement Competitiveness Fund 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,” (Last year’s collection – due to the Rice Tariffication Law – amounted to P22 billion. So, we have an excess collection of P12B that can be distributed under the RFFA,” De Mesa said.) De Mesa said.