Meet Mindanao’s Top Hybrid Rice Growers (Part 1)
Eulogio Guira is a migrant from Ilocos Norte, while Renerio Guevarra is a native of Digos City but they have one thing in common: They are the top hybrid rice growers in Mindanao and in the Visayas.
Eulogio, 64, has made Mindanao his second home since he has been there for 50 years. From Brgy. Nagbacalan, Batac, Ilocos Norte, he was brought to Palembang, Sultan Kudarat in 1957 by his uncle who migrated to Mindanao ahead of him.
In his first 15 years in Palembang, he acquired 10 hectares (has) and saved some money despite the traditional technology that he was using. In 1972, however, Sultan Kudarat became very troublesome due to the conflict between the Ilagas and the Muslims.
As a result, Eulogio moved out to New Ilocos, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur where his younger brother Sergio was farming. He used his savings, R60,000, to buy 2 has and for many of us, such amount could be considered a fortune at that time.
Subsequently, Eulogio sold his land in Palembang at P15,000 per hectare for a total of P150,000. From this amount, he bought 3 has of developed land in New Ilocos and used the rest for his farming operations. Using his income from the farm, he bought another 3 has from settlers who have given up farming. New Ilocos, by the way, is now inhabited by Ilocanos who originally came from llocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union.
At first, he was harvesting 50 to 60 cavans per hectare of IR 8 and IR 5, the rice varieties that triggered the Green Revolution. Even if these IRRI varieties were publicized to yield more than 100 bags per hectare, he already considered this yield good because he was not applying fertilizer.
Although he was selling his harvest at r4 to P5 a kilo, the labor (P8 to P10 a day) at that time was also cheap. And following the random method, 10 to 15 persons were needed to transplant a hectare. Thus, his income at the start was about P14,000 per hectare or a total of P28,000.
Eulogio recalls, that in 1974 when an agricultural technician of the Department of Agriculture was assigned in New Ilocos, he started to learn the new rice technology. Through his involvement in the Masagana 99, his yields increased to more than 100 cavans per hectare.
It was in the wet season of 2002 when he started planting the private hybrid Bigante in 3 has and continued planting 5 ha with the inbred PSB Rc10, which was a favorite variety in Mindanao back then. In fact, this variety is still being planted in Mindanao and in the Visayas.
The yield of his Bigante crop was 12,025 kg/ha which traders immediately bought at R11 to R12 a kilo. As a result, the Bayer CropScience Philippines asked Eulogio to conduct farm demonstration of Bigante in half a hectare. Bayer gave him free seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides.
For two years now, Eulogio has received the Higanteng Am Award (first place for Visayas and Mindanao) from Bayer because of his high yields. In 2004, he harvested 14.5 t/ha and 13.3 t/ha in 2005.
Eulogio is a portrait of an Ilocano migrant who has accumulated a little fortune from his toils. Just recently, he mortgaged 2 has in New Ilocos for P500,000 in five years. In 2001, he bought 5 has in Trento, Agusan del Sur also for P500,000 and planted it with 550 durian trees, 90 rambutan, and 60 lanzones. His daughter now manages the property.