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DA to launch seed production program in Negros Occidental.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will kick-start its nationwide seed production program, which seeks to improve the country's rice productivity through high-yielding varieties, in Negros Occidental.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol said the program would be funded by the provincial government, which would focus on producing only three seed varieties.

Under the program, the government of Negros Occidental would develop a 50-hectare area that would produce three inbred varieties developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Pinol added.

These varieties include RC 222, RC 160 and RC 216, which have production potential of up to 8.2 metric tons (MT) per hectare to 10 MT per hectare. Pinol said these rice varieties are early maturing and contain traits resistant against various stressors, such as pests.

Seeds produced by the provincial farm would be distributed for free to farmers to help them improve their yield, he said.

'Seeds produced from the provincial seed farm will be distributed to farmers for free, according to Gov. [Alfredo] Maranon,' he said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

'Recipient farmers will, in turn, be required to 'return' two bags of seeds, which the provincial government will again distribute to two more farmers who will also be asked to pay back two bags of seeds each,' he added.

Pinol said the program seeks to address the rice industry's problem of 'multiple-variety' farming system, which has resulted in various production and postharvest problems.

'The multiple-variety farming system has proven to be a bane of the Philippine rice industry where farm management, including the handling of diseases, has largely been a problem,' he said.

'The multiple-variety farming system also poses a problem to postharvest operations [as] farmers who own small landholdings refuse to dry their palay in mechanical dryers with huge capacity because they planted different varieties. Milling is also a problem because different varieties have different grain sizes and formation,' he added.

Pinol said the concept of producing only three rice varieties came from Vietnam, which focused 'on at least two major varieties which were all high-yielding and early maturing.'

'The Negros Occidental 3-in-1 Rice Industry Program could serve as the blueprint for other provinces in the future,' he said.

Citing Maranon, Pinol said the Negros Occidental seed production program would start this coming planting season.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Nov 5, 2018
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