DA uses innovative methods for higher rice yield
- Adam O. Borja () - January 29, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The National Rice Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is employing a mixture of both innovative methods and time-tested programs to increase rice production and boost the profitability of farmers in the countryside. 

In a report to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, assistant secretary and National Rice Program coordinator Dante Delima said the innovations, which shall be carried over this year, have significantly contributed to a 49.6 percent growth in total agricultural output from the crops subsector last year.

Alcala recently announced that palay (paddy rice) production yielded a total of 16.68 million metric tons, 5.8 percent more than the 15.77 million MT produced in 2010.

Delima said innovations introduced during the year were the establishment of community seed banks, regional seed buffer stocks, the Rice Achievers’ Award, and forging of partnerships with various stakeholders. 

He said that the innovations, alongside traditional programs like ratooning, distribution of farm implements and machines, construction of irrigations systems and post-harvest facilities, and provision of marketing, research and extension support, are aimed at boosting the government’s Food Staple Sufficiency Program (FSSP), as well as increase the profitability of farmers. 

The community seed banking program aims to increase farmers’ access to quality seeds through sustainable community-based seed banks organized, developed and managed by farmers, irrigators’ association (IA) members, and non-government organizations.

Under the program, two kilograms of starter seeds are provided to beneficiaries which they propagate to become mother seeds for the next cropping season.

Some 89,247 bags of two kilogram starter seeds were distributed to farmers belonging to 103 IAs nationwide, while a total of 227 seed storage facilities and warehouses were funded for rehabilitation and repair, Delima said.

The Seed Buffer Stocking Program, on the other hand, aims to ensure the availability of high quality palay seeds in the regional offices that can be accessed by farmers in times of calamities and unforeseen events.

“For 2011, this program enabled the procurement of 200,000 bags of certified seeds, to be distributed in times of calamities by the regional offices. To date, the regional field units have already distributed 175,924 bags of certified seeds to calamity affected farmers,” Delima said.

The Rice Achiever’s Awards was also established to encourage the involvement of Local Government Units in rice production by recognizing high-performing provinces, municipalities, cities, IAs, and Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) and highlight their contributions to the FSSP. 

For 2011, the Awards covered the wet season cropping and will be given to the Top 10 provinces, Top 50 municipalities, Top 8 Irrigators’ Associations and Top 157 AEWs.

Validation of winners is still being conducted, with the awarding ceremony slated next month.

AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION WORKERS AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO J ALCALA ASSOCIATIONS AND TOP DANTE DELIMA DELIMA FARMERS FOOD STAPLE SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS NATIONAL RICE PROGRAM NATIONAL RICE PROGRAM OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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