Dar: Agri Modernization Key To Surviving Pandemic

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Agriculture Secretary William Dar led Thursday the harvesting of the different varieties of hybrid rice inside the 100-hectare demonstration farm of the Department of Agriculture in Caraga (DA-13) in Barangay Lemon here on Thursday.

The highlight of the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF), the ceremonial harvesting is part of DA’s effort to promote farm modernization among the rice farmers in the region, whom Dar encouraged to go into hybrid rice farming.

“This activity (NRTF) aims to show you the available types of machinery for efficient farming as this is the time to modernize and adapt proper technologies and equipment to enable the agriculture sector to survive the pandemic,” Dar told the farmers.

He said the NRTF also seeks to lay out the government’s different strategies to enhance local rice production.

Meanwhile, Dar also recognized the success of farmers who ventured into hybrid rice farming, saying that they are now expecting to harvest up to eight metric tons of palay per hectare using hybrid seeds.

“Tulong-tulong, tayo po ay babangon mula sa pandemyang ito, at nang muling makabangon din ang ating ekonomiya (With each other’s support, we will rise from this pandemic and get our economy going again),” Dar said.

In a statement, DA-13 executive director Abel James Monteagudo said the agency has intensified the campaign for the wider adoption of hybrid rice technology among the local farmers in Caraga.

The campaign also aims to support the national goal for making the country rice self-sufficient, he added.

Data provided by DA-13 showed that the region has 108,850 hectares of land devoted to rice farming. Of the total hectarage, 53,206 hectares are classified as irrigated; 51,373 hectares are rain-fed, and 4,273 are upland.

In 2019, 5,063 hectares were devoted to hybrid rice farming in the region with an average yield of 4.6 metric tons (MT) of harvest per hectare and a total production of 23,754 MT.

The number of hectares planted with hybrid rice is still small compared to the areas devoted to other rice varieties such as certified seeds, good seeds, and those considered as seeds saved by farmers in their homes.

The area devoted to certified seeds in the region last year accounted for 85,823 hectares but only gained a 3.8 MT average yield per hectare.

A total of 42,475 hectares were also planted with good seeds last year with only 3.4 MT average yield per hectare.

Rice farms planted with seeds saved by farmers accounted for 14,526 hectares in 2019 with the lowest average yield of 3.4 MT per hectare. (PNA)

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