Ten thousand hectares of rice farms in Mindanao will shift to hybrid through the joint partnership of Bayer Crop Science and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office XII.
In a Memorandum of Agreement signing ceremony held at DA-RFO XII in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, both parties agreed to implement a pilot project to boost the hybrid rice production of farmers in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Saranggani, and Sultan Kudarat.
These provinces will soon ground Arize Hybrid Rice seeds with the guidance of field technicians from both parties.
The farmers will undergo Bayer Agri-Academy training on rice production to ensure the successful knowledge transfer of hybrid technology. This will allow farmers to become independent and highly productive in growing hybrid rice, the parties said in a statement.
The average yield of inbred rice farmers is approximately four metric tons, while hybrid rice seeds can potentially increase yield by six to eight metric tons, the DA said. While some farmers in the region are already existing hybrid rice users, adoption rate remains low.
“This is the first-of-its-kind among our projects with the Department of Agriculture. By formalizing our partnership, we convey our commitment to join hands with the government to improve the region’s rice productivity,” said Iiinas Ivan Lao, Country Commercial Lead, Bayer Crop Science.
“More than ever, we need to collaborate with the Department of Agriculture to ensure the project’s success. The support of DA-RFO XII and the local government units of the provinces involved will create a significant impact to the farming communities in the region,” added Recher Ondap, head of Seeds Bayer Crop Science.
Through this project, farmers will not only increase their yield by 20 percent, but will also be better equipped to run their business in the highly competitive rice market, Ondap added.
The planting season will start in May or June and will end by September. At the end of the season, farmers who to have harvested more than five metric tons of hybrid rice will be honored as top yielders in their respective areas.
This recognition will help farmers qualify in the Department of Agriculture’s annual Gawad Saka Awards, which recognizes farmers, fisherfolk, as well as distinguished groups and individuals, who have excelled and made significant contributions in the development of agriculture and fishery sector in their regions and in the country.
“I’m grateful for this partnership with Bayer. We recognize the importance of this collaboration to further strengthen our local initiatives to accelerate hybridization in the region and most importantly, equip our rice farmers with the knowledge and skills to boost our rice productivity,” said Milagros Casis, DA-RFO XII Regional Executive Director.
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