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Philippine prepares for national rice technology forum

The Department of Agriculture (DA), Caraga, in collaboration with the Rice Productivity Advocacy Incorporated (Rice Board) and the local government unit (LGU) of Butuan, is preparing for the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF).

DA continuously intensifies its campaign for the adoption of hybrid rice technology among local farmers. This is to encourage farmers to adopt new technologies by showcasing the best farming equipment through the collective efforts by the national government, LGU’s, farmers, and the private sector.

A technology demonstration will be established in the three barangays in Butuan City, namely Lemon, Basag, and Ampayon, covering a total area of 100 hectares, a press release has noted.

With around 40 participating farmer cooperators, the demo farms will be established in collaboration with the agri-companies.

The DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director, Abel James I. Monteagudo, said that NRTF is part of the strategy of the department to intensify the efforts in increasing the yield and productivity of farmers and ensuring food sufficiency, availability, accessibility, and affordability.

Food is a vital commodity especially now as the country is overcoming the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the mission to bring to the farmers the latest technology in rice production. This can be achieved through a partnership with the rice industry stakeholders, the release quoted Monteagudo saying.

Farmer cooperators are now on its land preparation in their respective areas.

The first NRTF was held in 2013, and since then DA has tried to attain rice sufficiency, however, it is yet to be realised due to calamities, land conversion, and increasing population. DA also must consider security by which rice must be available, safe, and nutritious.

The rice sector must also become an industry that is not limited to production only but includes in their rice enterprise drying and milling, before selling. One of the identified areas to be considered in establishing a competitive rice industry is mechanisation, which encourages farmers to join farmers’ associations (FAs).

Last year, the NRTF was hosted in March as a joint effort of the Rice Board and DA Ilocos in partnership with the local government units of Asingan and Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

A media report had noted that compared to previous technology demonstrations, it was the largest demo area, with a total of 37.5 hectares and showcased different hybrid rice seed varieties.

85 participating farmer cooperators attended. For the first time, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) participated in the technology demonstration introducing the use of carrageenan, a seaweed extract used as a plant growth regulator for the rice to increase yield. The research on this technology is a collaborative project of DOST and DA.

Farmers were given the opportunity to choose among the best practices and technologies introduced by the agri-companies that were applicable to their farm conditions.

The demonstration showcased different hybrid rice varieties and top inbred varieties using different rice transplanting methods such as mechanical, manual, and direct seeding.

To fully enable farmers, modern technology adoption is important, specifically, financial stability through credit sources supporting FAs to provide necessary inputs for their farms, and continuous capacity building.

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