SOME 10,000 hectares of rice farms in Mindanao will shift to hybrid varieties through the joint partnership of Bayer Crop Science and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office XII DA-(RFO 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, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat. These provinces sill soon grow hybrid 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 average yield of inbred rice farmers is about four metric tons while hybrid rice seeds can potentially increase yield by six to eight metric tons. 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 Iinas 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 community in the region,” shared Recher Ondap, head of Seeds Bayuer Crop Science. He also added that, through this project, not only will the farmers increase their yield by 20% but also they will be better equipped to run their business in the highly competitive rice market.
The planting season started in May and will end in September. At the end of the season, farmers who will 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 the fishery sector in their regions and in the country.
“I am grateful for the partnership with Bayer. We recognize the importance of the collaboration to further strengthen our local initiatives to accelerate the adoption of hybrid seeds 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.