Hybrid Seeds Double Farmers’ Incomes
Farmers in the El Niño-hit provinces of Isabela and Cagayan were able to double their incomes and increase their yields by an average of 200 percent despite the dry spell by planting hybrid rice seeds during the dry season, agriculture officials said.
Dr. Frisco Malabanan, national coordinator of Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Rice program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said that the 68 farmer beneficiaries who took part in the Department’s hybrid rice technology demonstration project harvested an average of 164 cavans of palay per hectare (dry weight), which is equivalent to 8.86 metric tons per hectare (MT/ha) at 50 to 54 kilograms per cavan.
He said several farmers yielded as high as 253 cavans per hectare or 13.68 MT/ha using various hybrids such as SL-8H, Jolly Rice, Bigante, Mestizo 1, PHB 71, and Rizalina 333. The harvests are much higher than the farmers’ usual output of 3 to 4 MT/ha using inbred varieties, Malabanan said.
“This translates into an increase in profit of at least P30,000 per hectare from only P15,000. Hybrid rice achieves greater yields and thus farmers earn more without increasing their cultivation area,” Malabanan said.
Hybrid rice normally produces 15% more than the certified seeds. But based on the reports, hybrid rice varieties have recorded a yield advantage of 33% more than those inbred certified seeds.
Latest figures submitted to GMA Rice Program show that 126,645 ha were planted to hybrid rice during the 2010 dry season.
For the regular 2010 wet cropping season, the program targets 96,888 ha to be planted to hybrid rice, Malabanan said.
As a recovery plan to upset production losses brought about by El Niño, an additional 64,170 ha target area will be planted to hybrid rice in Central Luzon, Western Visayas, the Cordillera Administrative Region, and the palay-growing provinces of Mindanao.
“With more hybrid rice areas and greater cooperation from LGUs an the private sector, the rice industry can look forward to achieving the palay production target of 17 million MT or more for cropping year 2010,” Malabanan said.
He said the DA aims to increase areas planted to hybrid rice to at least 600,000 to 800,000 ha in 2013. Malabanan said the DA had encouraged the farmer-beneficiaries from Isabela and Cagayan to use the various hybrid rice seeds available to them so that they could see for themselves the benefits of cultivating superior genetic materials. He noted that the farmers’ dry produce was bought at an average of P14/kg which brought them gross profits ranging from P77,850 to P191,468 per hectare even with the presence of El Niño weather phenomenon.
Malabanan said the DA, through the GMA Rice Program, currently grants subsidy for the purchase of hybrid rice seeds and conducts technical briefings for farmers on how to optimize yields using hybrid seeds with the help of the Regional Field Units (RFUs) in collaboration with the LGUs and the private sector.
To further promote hybrid rice through the RFUs, the National Irrigation Administration, LGUs and private seed companies conduct technology demonstrations to “satisfy the farmers’ ‘to see is to believe motto’ when it comes to adopting new technologies,” Malabanan said.
Final estimates from the DA Bureau of Agricultural Statistics show that area harvested to hybrid rice in 2009 reached 191,368 ha which contributed to 1,015,467 MT more to the national palay production at an average yield of 5.31 MT/ha.