The Department of Agriculture (DA) has identified 12.6 hectares of rice farm in Basey, Samar as demonstration area for this year’s largest rice derby in the country.
DA Regional Executive Director U-Nichols Manalo said the season-long event will showcase hybrid rice cultivation technologies in partnership with seed suppliers and local farmers.
The farm department is eyeing the completion of land preparation on Saturday in time for the new cropping season.
“This season-long event is designed such that farmers will learn about the hybrid rice technology right in the farm, and they will be engaged in various activities for the entire cropping season,” Manalo said on Thursday.
The event will open up more options for them to choose from the best performing hybrid varieties, according to Manalo.
The demonstration farm covers 12.6 hectares compact irrigated area serviced by the National Irrigation Administration in Manilaay village in Basey town.
This season-long activity will cap with a program scheduled on September 20 to 22 this year. Among the highlights are field visit by farmers, lecture-discussion about the package of technology on hybrid, harvest festival, and booth exhibits.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol personally identified Samar for this year’s largest rice derby, being a priority province for agricultural development, according to Manalo.
The country’s highest agriculture official visited the region on July 13 to 14 last year where he shared his vision of transforming the three Samar provinces into a major food production area.
Samar has a total rice area of 28,793 hectares, but only around 13 percent are covered by irrigation systems, according to Manalo.
In 2016, the province posted a total palay (unhusked rice) output of 149,307 metric tons from 54,216 hectares of planted area. The figure accounts 15.6 percent of the region’s total output of 954,844 metric tons.
Its rice yield level was the lowest among the six provinces in the region at an average of 2.75 metric tons per hectare.
This is so far the fifth leg of rice derby in the country. Earlier, similar activity was held in Digos, Davao del Sur; Pototan, Iloilo; Polangui, Albay and, in M’lang, North Cotabato.
Participating firms of Samar rice derby are SL Agritech, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta Philippines, Longping Tropical Rice Development, PhilsCAT, DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred and, SeedWorks, PhilRice and, the System of Rice Intensification technology led by DA regional office. (Sarwell Q. Meniano/PNA)