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A bountiful harvest: PhilRice celebrates milestones in rice farming industry

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) conducted its Lakbay Palay 2024 Dry Season, a farmers’ field day and forum, where milestones in the rice farming industry were celebrated.

One major accomplishment highlighted was the recorded harvest of 20.06 million metric tons of rice in 2023, which is the highest yield of harvest in the Philippines. This was achieved through the collaboration of PhilRice and farmers, with the support of other national government agencies and the private sector.

Aside from its role in achieving the highest yield, PhilRice has accomplished remarkable feats that were lauded during the event.

In his message, PhilRice Executive Director John De Leon stated that the agency’s goal is to continue assisting farmers through science, particularly in research and development.

“Under Bagong Pilipinas, the aim of our government is for all Filipinos to have a comfortable and secure life that is why we will help the farmers even more. Here at PhilRice, we aim to improve every farming community through science and technology,” he emphasized.

The agency’s banner programs include Rice Seed Systems, Scaling Modern and Adaptive Rice Technologies for Prosperous Farming Communities (SMART Farm), and the Rice Business Innovations System (RiceBIS) 2.0. PhilRice also has special programs such as the Healthier Rice and the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
 

Philippine Rice Research Institute Executive Director John De Leon states that the agency’s goal is to continue assisting farmers through science, particularly in research and development. (Camille C. Nagaño/PIA 3)

Rice Seed System

In 2023, the Rice Seed System was successful in increasing the nucleus seeds of 13 recommended varieties in the region, along with 20 other varieties. PhilRice also multiplied certified breeder seeds and 16 regionally recommended varieties for next-users.

In addition, the agency was able to multiply registered seeds with 99.69 percent efficiency and foundation seeds with 90.93 percent efficiency.

PhilRice has also developed its most recent varieties for rain-fed and irrigated lowlands namely NSIC Rc 732 (Sahod Ulan 37), Rc 730 SR (Special Rice), Rc 738 (Tubigan 62), and Rc 740 (Tubigan 63).

About 1,000 farmers and students from Central Luzon and neighboring regions participate in the two-day Lakbay Palay Dry Season 2024 held at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. It features innovative methods and technologies in farming. (Camille C. Nagaño/PIA 3)

SMART Farm

Under SMART Farm, the agency developed digital apps including E-Damuhan, Binhing Palay, PalayCheck, MOET (Minus-One Element Technique), and LCC (Leaf Color Computing). These apps help farmers improve their production and make farming cost-effective.

PhilRice also promoted a remote sensing technology called the Philippine Rice Information System or PRiSM, which provides updates regarding rice production in the country including areas planted with rice, harvested rice, and production estimates.

It also came up with the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD). From one farmer who initially tried it in Midsayap town in the province of Cotabato, AWD is now being used by about 5,293 farmers.

“The data shown here is only for Mindanao. But when you look up the information from the National Irrigation Administration, they say that almost 109,000 of the 900,000 areas they are servicing at the time of the report of their master plan or road map are already adopting it,” De Leon disclosed.

More water is saved without affecting the yield because of AWD. It also helps reduce the impact of drought in rice fields. Additionally, it allows more farmers to irrigate their fields and helps the environment by reducing methane emissions.

Palayamanan Plus is another initiative under SMART Farm. It is a rice-based production system that teaches farmers how to use diversification, intensification, and integration in farming.

This technology aims to turn small farms into agri-enterprises to provide greater income for farmers. Its latest development includes a 360 virtual tour and downloadable materials so that learning can now be done wherever the farmers are.

Aside from Palayamanan Plus, the use of agricultural drones in rice fields were highlighted. These are machines that sow seeds from the air. With just a click, the agri-drone monitors the growth of rice and its needs. This can also be used in applying fertilizers and chemicals to manage problems in the fields.

Under the Healthier Rice Program, PhilRice increased the production of Malusog Rice seeds rich in beta-carotene, which becomes Vitamin A as needed by the body. From 47 hectares planted, it has now expanded to 157 hectares. (PhilRice)

Healthier Rice

Under Rice BIS 2.0, PhilRice connected cooperatives with institutional buyers. These include KIWANIS International, Mayani PH, CM & Sons Food Inc. (Merczi), and People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network, among others.

Through this program, the agency also took steps to promote Good Agricultural Practice certification to increase the quality and price of products and connect cooperatives with facilities, funding, and more. Among its partners were the BPI Foundation, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization.

Furthermore, under the Healthier Rice Program, the agency increased the production of Malusog Rice seeds rich in beta-carotene, which becomes Vitamin A as needed by the body. From 47 hectares planted, it has now expanded to 157 hectares.

The agency also increased the supply of brown rice in the market to lower its price. It also improved the brown rice bike mill and portable brown rice mill to make it more affordable.

Other than that, the scanning of low-glycemic index rice varieties has begun to help prevent diabetes. Likewise, the agency is strengthening policies for half-cup orders of rice for diabetics and to avoid wastage of rice cultivated by farmers.

Under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund program, PhilRice trained about 220,000 farmers and 30,000 extension workers since 2020 while 9.5 million farmers were reached through techno briefings and info caravans with 9.8 million copies of reading materials distributed. (PhilRice)

RCEF

Under the RCEF program, a total of 15.85 million certified inbred seeds were distributed from the 2020 Dry Season to the 2024 Dry Season that benefited about 2,434,622 farmers. This translates to 1.66 million hectares planted each year.

Through this program, the agency enhanced the capabilities of farmers through training, reading materials, broadcast materials, and more.

It has trained about 220,000 farmers and 30,000 extension workers since 2020 while 9.5 million farmers were reached through techno briefings and info caravans with 9.8 million copies of reading materials distributed.

The collaborative efforts of PhilRice and farmers, together with other government agencies and private sector, have truly yielded to achieve the country’s bountiful harvest. With this, the goal is to continue the growing unity for a more abundant country. (CLJD/MAECR-PIA 3)

https://pia.gov.ph/features/2024/04/03/a-bountiful-harvest-philrice-celebrates-milestones-in-rice-farming-industry QR Code

Published Date: April 3, 2024

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