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Quality seeds for NE to keep rice granary title

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PALAYAN CITY – Using quality seeds, Nueva Ecija farmers can produce up to 300 cavans of palay per hectare in an environment where the plants’ requirements are sustained, a ranking agriculture official said Friday.

Provincial agriculturist Bernardo Valdez said the result of yield competition conducted by the hybrid rice producer SeedWorks Philippines strengthens the province hold on the title of rice granary.

“Ito naman ay isang malaking pagkakataon sa  mga magsasaka natin dito sa lalawigan na kung saan ay may kakayahan pa tayo na bilang kinikilalang rice granary of the Philippines ay  lalo pa nilang mapapaigting at mapapataas ang kanilang kita,” Valdez said.

Valdez graced the awarding rites, where health protocols set by the inter-agency task force were strictly practiced, of the Ang Hari ng Ani at the Capitol compound here.

“Ang napakaganda rito ay tayo mismong taga-Nueva Ecija ang nagbe-benefit ng ganitong programa o patimpalak sapagkat nakita rito yung kainaman nung variety,” he added.

Ang Hari sa Ani was launched by SeedWorks Philippines in Nueva Ecija in September 2019. The contest was opened for qualified US-88 hybrid rice farmers across the region. The yield competition covered the dry season (November 2019 to April 2020).

Former overseas Filipino worker Emmanuel Soleta of Talavera town topped the contest with his 300 cavans in a hectare yield using US-88 to bring home a brand new Ford Ranger pick-up truck. 

Two other farmers got motorcycles each as second and third prizes.

“We congratulate these farmers for making yields that are more than two to three times the national yield average,” said SeedWorks Philippines president Carlos Saplala. “The use of the US-88 hybrid rice variety plus the modern techniques to farming have really paid off. We hope that this will serve as an inspiration and motivation for our other fellow Filipino farmers to do better by adopting the best practices in rice farming.”

Central Luzon, which remains as the top rice-producing region in the country (based on latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority), accounts for 20.4 percent of the Philippines’ rice production.

“Thus, it is one of the two regions where Ang Hari sa Ani was simultaneously rolled out—the other was Region 11,” Saplala said. 

In the fourth quarter of 2019, statistics showed that Nueva Ecija was the top rice-producing province in the region (and the country) with over 760,000 metric tons of yield. It was followed by Tarlac (over 275,000 metric tons) and Bulacan (over 174,000 metric tons). 

Valdez noted that the Department of Agriculture has been extending seeds subsidy to farmers.

Meanwhile, Valdez said a little over 50 percent of the 200 hectares have so far been planted in Nueva Ecija due to delayed rains.

“Napakaramot po ng ulan, kaya yung mga rainfed ay maaring mahuli po sa pagtatanim,” he said. He stressed though the National Irrigation Administration is addressing the situation to assure the water requirements of farmers are met.

“Sa mga irrigated areas ay kasalakuyan na pongnagpapatanim at marami na po ang bayan-bayan na naagusan ng tubig,” he added.

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