Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the department is pouring all of its regular budget starting 2020 for the improvement and expansion of hybrid rice in the Philippines.
Geremy Pintolo
DA to allocate P2 B for hybrid rice
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is set to go full blast with its hybrid rice program as it plans to allocate regular funding of about P2 billion all for hybrid rice next year, in a bid to hit the country’s target production of 21 million metric tons of palay (unhusked rice).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the department is pouring all of its regular budget starting 2020 for the improvement and expansion of hybrid rice in the Philippines.

“We will devote our budget to hybrid, we will be partnering with private seed companies and other players. But the policy of farmers choice will still be there,” he said.

Dar has instructed newly-promoted Agriculture Assistant Secretary Andrew Villacorta to lead the catch-up program in rice production to ensure a more competitive local rice industry.

Villacorta used to be officer-in-charge assistant director under former agri chief Emmanuel Piñol. Before that, he was regional director in Central Luzon where he managed to increase hybrid usage to 100,000 hectares from just 30,000 hectares.

“We are elevating our hybrid program to encourage more farmers. With this, we can expect more production because there is really a huge difference in terms of inbred and hybrid,” Villacorta told reporters.

“With the hybrid, our 20 to 21 million MT (of palay) is achievable next year. That’s what we are targeting,” Villacorta added.

Once achieved, the 21 million MT will be the highest recorded palay production in the country. The current record is at 19.28 million MT achieved in 2017.

The P2-billion budget for 2020 is 43 percent higher than the P1.4 billion allocation this year, which is still a combination of inbred and hybrid.

The DA has decided to allocate all its rice program budget for hybrid since the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) has already portioned P3 billion all for inbred.

“We have farmers who really prefer hybrid, but our problem is the budget. That’s why we decided that the whole regular budget for rice under our GAA (General Appropriations Act) will be for hybrid,” Villacorta said.

Hybrid is a type of rice that has been bred from two very different parents and it significantly outyields other rice varieties.

Hybrids yield up to 10 MT per hectare per harvest which is much higher than the national average of four MT per hectare.

HYBRID RICE WILLIAM DAR
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