HYBRID RICE PROGRAM. Central Luzon farmers are in full support of the implementation of the government's program that promotes the use of hybrid rice varieties. They strongly believe that the country’s goal of rice sufficiency can be attained through the hybrid rice program. (File photo courtesy of DA Region 3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Farmers' groups in Central Luzon region strongly believe that the country’s goal for rice sufficiency can be attained through the implementation of a program that promotes the use of hybrid seed varieties.

Ricardo Buenaventura, chairperson of the Nagkakaisang Magsasaka Agricultural Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Talavera town, Nueva Ecija province, said on Thursday they fully support the move of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to promote the use of hybrid rice varieties to help increase crop production.

He noted that more farmers are now using hybrid rice seeds that enable them to harvest more and earn higher profits compared to traditional rice seeds.

“Ang pagtatanim ng hybrid ay walang pinipili, basta't angkop sa lugar ng magsasaka at panahon (The planting of hybrid is not selective as long it suits the farmers’ area and the season),” he said in a local news report.

Buenaventura likewise said they are happy with the move of the Department of Agriculture to plant hybrid seeds in 1.5 million hectares of land across the country.

“Masaya kaming mapabilang sa programa na makapagtanim ng hybrid seeds sa 1.5 million lupang sakahan na kung saan malaking porsiyento ay sa Central Luzon, particular na sa Nueva Ecija (We are happy to be part of the program that will plant hybrid seeds to 1.5 million agricultural lands wherein big percentage is from Central Luzon, particularly in Nueva Ecija),” he said.

Other farmers' group leaders in the region who expressed full support to the rice hybrid program include Petronilo Ucol, chairman of the Panabingan Multi-Purpose Cooperative of San Antonio town, Nueva Ecija and Alfredo Magdangal, overall president of the irrigators' association in Tarlac province.

Meanwhile, Dr. Frisco Malabanan, former science research specialist of the Philippine Rice Research Institute and technical and promotion support consultant of the SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC), said hybrid rice technology gives good yields and income to the farmers.

“Kapag natamnan ang target production area ay maaabot ang nais ni Pangulong Marcos na rice sufficiency (Once the target production area has been planted with hybrid rice, the desire of President Marcos’ rice sufficiency will be achieved),” he said.

Based on the DA’s study, the hybrid system has given 41 percent better yield than inbred conventional seeds over the past years.

Hybrid farmers have reported harvesting 7 to 15 metric tons (MT) per hectare, higher than the average 3.6 MT/hectare for inbred seeds. (PNA)