Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Farmers compete to boost rice production

Will transplanting rice seedlings at 8-10 days – a System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Pilipinas technology, increase yield and reduce cost?

As general recommendation, rice seedlings are transplanted at 20-25 days old.  However, SRI Pilipinas, a non-government organization, is up to prove that their technology will produce 10t/ha at P5 per kilo in the Palayabangan: The 10-5 Challenge.

Palayabangan, a nationwide rice production competition initiated by the Department of Agriculture (DA), with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) as lead, kicked off in June gathered 36 individual farmers and farmer groups, seed and fertilizer companies, non-government organizations and civil society groups nationwide aiming to increase rice produce with lesser expenses.

Non-government organizations comprising farmers, NGO workers, academicians and government officials, along with other fertilizer companies, individual farmers and farmers` group nationwide, accepted the challenge. Seed and fertilizer corporations like Bayer Philippines, Syngenta and SL Agritech also participated in the competition.

Venancio Garde Jr., representative of SRI Pilipinas, said that the NGO participated in the competition to promote Palayabangan’s goal to its rice farmer-members.

“Palayabangan will help farmers increase their production and lessen their input cost,” Garde explained.

The competition aims to level up the rice production standard to 10-5, that is, 10 tons/ha yield (or 200 cav) at only P5 input cost per kilogram of palay. The current average input cost is pegged at P11/kg.

“The 10-5 Challenge supports the goal of the Food Staples Sufficiency Program and the advocacies of the National Year of Rice (NYR 2013). NYR aims to help increase farmers’ productivity and boost their morale,” Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, PhilRice executive director said.

Palayabangan, according to Rasco, is a “new initiative that will provide opportunities for all players in the rice sector to show what they can do to improve yield and reduce production cost.”

“This initiative will also address issues on agriculture competitiveness, which would eventually help decrease smuggling and importation,” he stressed.

He added that the 10-5 Challenge will continue until the goal of “high income-low cost production” is achieved and sustained.

The competition was opened to individual farmers or farmer groups, Gawad Saka Awardees, seed companies, fertilizer companies, non-government organizations, civil society groups, and state colleges and universities.

Prizes at stake are as follows: P5 million in project fund and technology promotion activities for the national winner; P100 thousand in cash for the regional winners; and P10 thousand in cash for consolation prizes. Winners will be known in November 2013.

For queries, call or text 0920 911 1398.

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