RICE TECHNOLOGY. One of the hybrid rice varieties planted in the Community Hybrid Rice Model Farm Project in Calinog town, Iloilo Province. The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas is eyeing an improved adoption of hybrid rice technology with the establishment of demo farms. (Photo courtesy of DA Regional Agri-Fishery Information Section)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has established a new demonstration farm in the municipality of Calinog in Iloilo Province to promote hybrid rice technology to attain rice self-sufficiency in Western Visayas (Region 6).

DA's Community Hybrid Rice Model Farm (CHRMF) Project covers a contiguous area in Barangays Badlan Grande, Badu, Impalidan, Cabagiao, Camalongo, Canabajan, Gama Grande, Guiso, Malitbog, Maspasan, and Nalbugan participated in by 105 farmer-cooperators covering 101 hectares planted with six varieties of the hybrid rice.

Aside from Iloilo, DA also has demo farm projects in Banga town, Aklan Province; Hamtic, Antique; Cuartero, Capiz; and Sibunag, Guimaras.

“They (new areas) were endorsed by the OPA (Office of the Provincial Agriculturist) Iloilo because the areas have also potential(s) to grow hybrid rice,” said Karen Mae Hipolito,, Agriculturist II of DA Region 6, in an interview on Wednesday.

With the clustering approach, the department seeks to generate data that will encourage the adoption of preferred hybrid rice varieties, technologies, and management techniques.

Hybrid rice varieties can result in higher yields and reduce losses.

The farmers were enrolled in the government's Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture and members of 12 farmers' associations.

The project started with the validation and orientation of enrolled farmers last February followed by a geo-referencing (taking an aerial photo for mapping) in March where areas tilled by farmers joining the project were measured.

“The varieties that were planted were LP937, Hatao Liksi, Jackpot, Bigante Plus, Habilis Plus kag SL19. It was planted through direct seeding, manual transplanting, and ride-on type transplanter,” Hipolito said.

Being part of the hybrid rice technology project, farmers were also provided with P147,753 worth of fertilizer vouchers and technical assistance through farmers' field schools.

After more than three months of tilling their farms, some have already harvested while others are waiting for their turn to harvest, Hipolito said.

She added that they would sustain the project this second cropping starting this October to validate the adaptability of the various varieties.

With this second cropping, the CHRMF project will expand to Cadiz City and Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority report on Sept. 23 this year, the region has produced a record-high 2.3 million metric tons or a 2.3 percent growth rate in production in 2021. (PNA)