More areas for hybrid rice eyed in Palawan, Mindanao

hybrid riceTHE Philippine-East Asean Growth Area (P-Eaga) is targeting to expand plantation area for hybrid rice in Palawan and Mindanao starting this year, in a bid to increase the production of rice and achieve food sufficiency in these areas.

“The Philippines is the lead country in the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-Eaga implementing the hybrid rice planting as part of the Food Basket Pilar. The province of Palawan and the whole of Mindanao are part of the P-Eaga areas,” said Dr. Frisco M. Malabanan, senior technical consultant of SL Agritech Corp. (Slac) in a Status Report on the Hybrid Rice Planting in the P-Eaga Regions, which he presented during the 2nd BIMP-Eaga Agribusiness Cluster Meeting at Grand Regal Hotel on Tuesday.

He said the project is a private-public partnership (PPP) between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and private seed companies headed by Slac, who are spearheading the hybrid rice planting in the P-Eaga areas, which includes Palawan and the whole of Mindanao.

Expansion of the hybrid rice plantations will begin during the 2014-2015 dry season cropping, wherein they are targeting 23,567 hectares (has.), up to 2015 wet season and 2015-2016 dry season cropping , wherein they are targeting 40,782 has.

For the 2014-2015 dry season cropping, 1,454 has. have been targeted for Palawan, 4,186 has. for Zamboanga Peninsula, 2,000 has. for Northern Mindanao, 5,678 has. for Davao Region, 4,200 has. for Socsksargen, 1,493 has. for Caraga, and 4,556 has. for Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao (Armm).

For the 2015 wet season and 2015-2016 dry season cropping, 2,456 has. have been targeted for Palawan, 8,372 has. for Zamboanga Peninsula, 4,000 has. for Northern Mindanao, 11,356 has. for Davao Region, 2,500 has. for Socsksargen, 2,986 has. for Caraga, and 9,112 has. for Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao (Armm).

In 2013, the hybrid rice plantations in the P-Eaga is at 36,982 has., located in Zamboanga Peninsula at 9,325 has. Malabanan said based on their internal study, they have observed an increase in the average yield of the farmers who used the Slac hybrid rice variety.

“The average yield of SL Agritech hybrid rice variety was 6.6 metric tons per hectare in the P-Eaga compared to only 4.4 metric tons per hectare for inbred [rice]. This data showed a 50% yield advantage of hybrid rice compared to inbred [rice],” he said.

Malabanan said they are hoping to replicate this in other areas in the BIMP-Eaga like in some provinces in Malaysia.

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