By Manuel T. Cayon / Mindanao Bureau Chief
GENERAL SANTOS CITY—The Compostela Valley provincial government launched last week a so-called hybrid-rice derby, from holding a demonstration farm to signing cooperation agreements with seed companies, to promote the use of high-yielding varieties and increase overall farm production.
Three farmer cooperators—Fructuso Jumalon, Apolonio Obeja and Nelson Sebastian—offered their farm sites as trial areas, totalling 2,500 square meters for the demonstration area for each rice variety being offered.
The hybrid rice derby, dubbed as “Kapehan sa Uma,” coincided with the ceremonial planting of various hybrid-rice seedlings, ribbon cutting and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the local government, private seed companies and farmer cooperators.
The Provincial Agriculturist Office (Pagro) spearheaded the launching of the activity on July 29 in Barangay Lagab, Compostela town.
“We want to showcase the technology, its benefits and importance of hybrid-rice seeds and its suitability in our province and eventually increase rice sufficiency in Comval,” Pagro Chief Dr. Rolando Simene said.
Pagro was able to get the participation of private seed companies Sygenta, SL Agritech Corp., Bayer CropScience, Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines, and Jardine Distribution Inc.
It said the seed companies would provide for the seed and farm inputs, as well as the technical assistance to the hybrid-rice seed variety.
Mayor Lema P. Bolo said she hoped the derby and succeeding support to planting of high-yielding varieties would “help improve the farmers’ yield and income especially that Compostela is a major rice producing municipality.”
The provincial information office said the Department of Agriculture has recognized Compostela Valley as one of the Top 10 Most Outstanding Rice-Producing Provinces in the country during the 2014 Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Awarding Ceremony held March of this year.
National rice industry data also showed that Compostela Valley “helped contribute through incremental production of 11.44 percent average yield per hectare in 2014 with 90 percent of certified seeds grown by farmers and only 5 percent are hybrid areas.”