Biodiversity Project Update:

Farmers' Field Day

The Asia Rice Foundation, in cooperation with the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agicultural Reseach Center and the Municipal Agricultural Office of Candelaria, Quezon, Philippines organized a Farmers' Field Day for its project "Deployment of Genetic Diversity to Increase the Productivity and Sustainability of Intensive Rice Culture" in Bgy. Buenavista, Candelaria Quezon, on 29 March 2004. This project sought to test the idea that planting a mixture of varieties with functional differences in resistance to pest and diseases and lodging will provide protection to the susceptible variety. The project's cooperator shared the outcome of the trial to 30 farmers and extension workers who attended the event.

Although the effect of mixture on pest and disease control was not clearly demonstrated, the dry season being unfavorable to many pest and diseases, the cooperators were all exuberant because they got better yield than they used to. They believed that the varieties used in the trial and the application of the right amount of fertilizer at the right time were the major contributing factors to improved yield. The cooperators were also convinced that planting 2-3 seedlings per hill should be sufficient to achieve the desirable plant density and thus save on seeds. Farmers in the area normally plant 5-10 seedlings per hill.

Preparations are in place for the wet season trial, in which high pest and disease pressure and lodging problems are expected.

Photos below show a farmer cooperator sharing his experiences and insights with the participants, and the participants viewing the trial plot.

A farmer cooperator sharing his experiences and insights with the participants. Participants viewing the trial plot.

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