Various rice farmers in Apayao province shared how they were benefitted through the hybrid rice seeds and fertilizers intervention from the Department of Agriculture (DA) under its Rice Resiliency Project (RRP).
One of the major benefits is the reduction of farmer’s expenses on agricultural inputs every cropping season.
Mr. Jonathan Lara, a rice farmer from Malayugan, Flora, who is tilling 5.5 hectares said that during the last cropping season, he only paid less than Php16,000 for eight bags of hybrid rice seeds and 20 bags of fertilizers. Without the intervention, he usually spends more than P40,000 per cropping.
Moreover, Brgy. Captain of Tanglagan, Calanasan Hon. Isidro Andres who is also a rice farmer said that in every hectare, they normally pay P5,000-P9,000 for five (5) bags of hybrid rice seeds alone per cropping.
“Bassit langenen ti bayadanmi ta ad-adu ti libre ket isu pay nga usarenmi igatang ti dadduma nga kasapulanmi (The paid amount is lower because there are more free [interventions] so we can save more for our other household needs),” Mr. Lara shared.
Having been farming rice for 30 years now, he said that most of the agri-inputs he plants are availed as credit which is paid right after harvest. He was planting inbred seeds before because it was accordingly cheaper compared to the hybrid seeds. But with the High Yielding Technology Adoption or HYTA Program in 2013 and the RRP in 2018, Mr. Lara and some other rice farmers in their barangay were able to avail of hybrid rice which they are planting up to the present.
Mr. Lara noted that there is a big difference between the hybrid seeds and inbred seeds that he has been planting in terms of yield. Accordingly, he can harvest 160-170 cavans of hybrid rice in one hectare compared to about 70 cavans under inbred.
“Nakatulong daytoy la unay idjay panagngato ti apit mi nga isu metlang ti pagapuan ti income mi (It is very helpful especially in increasing our yield which is the main source of our income),” he added.
Meanwhile, Ms. Vilma Sao, a rice farmer from Tanglagan, Calanasan, shared that they were beneficiaries of the RRP1 and 2. Because of the reduced costs and with their increased yield after planting hybrid seeds, complemented with proper farming technologies, her family was able to buy one carabao amounting to P21,000. Said carabao currently aids them in their rice farm and other activities which also reduced their expenses for hired laborers.
Early planting for the wet season keeps the rice harvests of Ms. Sao and other rice farmers in barangay Tanglagan safe from being wet and from discolorations such as becoming blackish (ngumisit) due to continuous rains.
They would plant by June in time for October harvesting. They are planting SL8 hybrid seeds which are harvestable after three months. Ms. Sao added that the last quarter of the year is their rainy season which greatly affects the rice crops in terms of its appearance and moisture.
“Uray nu nalakanto ti irik nu wet season, maikamakam ladta jay irikmi ket saan nga mabawasan ti apit (Even if the palay is cheaper in the wet season, we can still work on our palay so that the harvest will not decrease),” Ms. Sao said.
Hulled rice with pure white appearance is P17 per kilo while those with blemishes is P16 per kilo. Those with more impurities (blackish) are not accepted in the market.
The early planting practice was learned by Ms. Sao’s husband basing on the previous year’s experiences in their community in terms of rainy and sunny months as affected by climate change. They also share this with their fellow farmers so as to ensure better yield in the wet season.
Meanwhile, the Rice Crop Manager or RCM is also seen by rice farmers in Malayugan, Flora as an essential tool that guides them throughout the cropping season. RCM is a platform that can generate and provide personalized recommendations to individual rice farmers on nutrient and crop management.
Mr. Alejandro Carlos said that increased yield can be attained by following the RCM wherein it guides the farmer about the proper timing, measurement, and way of applying what kind of fertilizers. The timing and proper measurement of fertilizer are very important for the proper growth and development of the plants as well as to avoid wastage.
“Idi sinurot ko jay RCM, makaapitak ti 140 bags per hectare (When I followed the RCM, I can already harvest 140 bags per hectare),” he shared. One bag is equal to 52 kgs. But before the RCM, Mr. Carlos recalled that he was only harvesting about 60-70 bags per hectare.
Another good practice shared by farmers in barangay Malayugan is the sowing of at least three (3) pAlay per area. This is to allow for buffer especially if the fields are not free from golden apple snail, commonly known as golden kuhol, that devours on young succulent plants like the newly transplanted rice crops and weeds.
The rice farmers are thankful to their farmer’s cooperatives and associations (FCAs) who served as conduits of the different agricultural interventions. They noted that the FCAs are active in disseminating and have facilitated these interventions properly for the benefit of the farmers.