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Davao del Norte farmer wins DA award for high-yield rice harvest.

NEW CORELLA, Davao del Norte-When he harvested 10.2 metric tons (MT) per hectare average yield in his 2.3 hectares here in October last year, William Ticar Dedoroy knew another episode of high-yielding varieties has come anew, since he started farming during the Masagana 99 time of the 1970s.

He remembers the IR36 of that time, when the country attained self-sufficiency for a brief period, even exporting rice for the first time.

That variety yielded 140 cavans, or 140 bags, equivalent to 7 MT per hectare, a phenomenal yield, when the other common varieties many still in use today would yield 100 cavans a hectare, or 5 MT.

After that brief period of high yield, and until now, the country's rice farms went back to the low-yield regime averaging on 6 to 7 MT a hectare.

Dedoroy was impressed by his first harvest of the US-88 hybrid variety in the last cropping season ending in October.

'It is soft, and it smells good,' Dedoroy said, comparing it to the other varieties that he described as good tasting.

Besides, the US-88 variety has long grains, which he believes should persuade traders and commercial sellers to buy them at a higher farm-gate price than what they used to buy the other hybrid rice grains. 'They are really attractive because of the long grain and the crystal-like appearance.'

'This hybrid rice is really sweet tasting, comparable to the tonner and the V160,' he said.

The trader he used to sell his palay to bought his first harvest of the US-88 at P21 a kilo, close to P2 higher than the buying price of other hybrid rice harvests.

'The farmers here would rather use the inbred than the hybrid. He said the other hybrid varieties only have the reputation of high yield, but the taste has not been attractive to ordinary Filipino consumers.

Since 1975 when he started farming here, Dedoroy has been using inbred varieties and, in some occasions, would also plant the rice varieties being hyped on certain occasions as having high yield.

Although an inbred-variety user for a long time, he said he has also longed to shift to the hybrid variety of the reputable kind.

Last year turned providential for him. The provincial government and the regional office of the Department of Agriculture announced a package of support to farmers if they shifted to hybrid.

Gov. Anthony del Rosario said the province would provide free the seeds and the farm input and the Department of Agriculture (DA) would provide the free technical assistance through the rice crop manager (RCM), who would mentor farmers on soil preparation, planting and onto the harvest of the crop.

The RCM system would do the analyzing of the soil, the seed-bed preparation, transplanting, application of fertilizers and the harvesting practice.

The package of support to farmers came after the administration of President Duterte embarked on a fresh attempt at rice self-sufficiency, adapting a strategy of providing full support to farmers. The DA also chose the hybrid-rice varieties to offset the lack of additional lands to be opened for rice production.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 15, 2018
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