La Union joins growing list of hybrid rice seed producers
By Jun Elias
The Manila Times, November 3, 2003

ROSARIO, La Union—The campaign of the provincial government for self-sufficiency in rice has been boosted with the recent harvest of the staple crop from the hybrid rice seed production project in Barangay Tay-ac of this town.

The demonstration farm, totaling 4.6 hectares of irrigated land, was tilled by three farmer cooperators—Joey Ramos, Roberto Salting and Jun Carbonnel, all residents of the area.

Ramos, the country’s 2002 Gawad Saka (Outstanding National Rice Farmer Award) winner as Most Outstanding Farmer, planted at least two hectares of the hybrid variety while Salting has 1.6 hectares and Carbonell, one hectare.

Based on the cost and return analysis a hectare made by Ramos, who was the first to harvest among the three farmers, some p31, 078 was spent for the production but yielded a total production of 1,200 kilograms of A-line (female) seeds at P12 a kilo and 2,684 kilograms of R-line (male) seeds at P10 a kilo.

The total yield was worth P170, 840, resulting in a net income of P139, 762. The return on investment rate was 79.90 percent.

Salting and Carbonnel said they expect to obtain similar returns from their investments as soon as they finish harvesting their crops.

Impressed by the success of the project, Gov. Victor Ortega of La Union promised to replicate the project in other irrigated towns of the province and provide financial assistance and other needs of the farmers.

The hybrid rice product is in line with the objective of both the national and local governments to increase rice production for food security and to provide higher income opportunities for farmers.

Amelia Sotelo, a provincial agriculturist, said this hybrid rice can yield on a each hectare basis, as much as eight tons compared with the five tons of the ordinary variety.

“A panicle of this hybrid rice produces as much as 180 spikelets (grains) as compared with 95 spikelets of the previously used kind,” Sotelo explained.

Provincial board member Gerry Viloria, chair of the Committee on Agriculture, who provided technical and legislative assistance to the food self-sufficiency program of La Union, explained that the average farmer in the province tends to 0.6 hectare (6,000 square meters) of land.

This falls short to the one to two hectares required for a farmer to sustain a family of six.

The provincial agriculture office is targeting at least 2, 000 hectares for the propagation of the hybrid rise breed this year.

It will double its target next year until most of the 35, 000 hectares suitable to rice are utilized. Initially, the provincial government would provide subsidy to the recipient farmers until the province can produce enough supply.

Since the technology requires more labor than inbred rice production, more employment will be generated in rural areas, officials said.

This, in turn, will contribute great­ly toward reducing rural poverty and to decongest urban areas, officials added.

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