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Tacloban City
August 2003


"Preliminary reports from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics show our country's rice output decelerated by five percent during the first semester, however, Region VIII posted an 11 percent growth output according to the same report," Department of Agriculture-VIII's Regional Executive Director Leo P. Caņeda revealed.

According to him, the region's improved rice output came from the increased rate of farmers' adoption of certified and hybrid rice seeds in their farms.  Some 17,000 farmers in the region are now using certified seeds while roughly a thousand are into hybrid rice cultivation, he said.

Following this encouraging performance promoting certified rice seeds, the Department of Agriculture-VIII intensifies its campaign on hybrid rice with the launching of the program, "Adopt an LGU for Hybrid Rice Commecialization." This is an operational strategy peculiar to Region VIII, meant to push greater adoption of hybrid rice seeds among the farmers as the region strives to prop up rice production level, from a 94 percent sufficiency index towards the targeted rice self-sufficiency by next year.

Along this line, some 100 regional staff of varied technical expertise were tapped to form an interim group, and were deployed to different municipalities, identified as potential areas for hybrid rice cultivation regionwide.  This team will serve to backstop the Local Government Units' efforts in promoting hybrid rice by working closely with their local extension workers.

RED Caņeda appealed to his technical staff to flex their muscle and creativity to help accelerate the level of hybrid rice commercialization in the region.  He said, "The future of rice production lies in hybrid rice and the region cannot afford to just sit down and be left behind." Significantly, he urged them to learn hybrid rice technology by heart, to effectively promote and introduce it to the local government officials and farmers.

With the rapidly increasing population growth in the country, it is all the more important to double effort in food production. This was particularly the essence of putting food sufficiency program atop the priorities of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration.

President Arroyo wants to improve the country's rice sector situation. noting the greater yield strength a d remarkable qualities of hybrid rice over inbred, she promoted its adoption among the farmers saying, "Hybrid seeds have effectively doubled and in some cases, tripled the average yield of ordinary rice varieties pegged at 60-80 cavans per hectare per cropping season."

Related to it, during a consultation meeting held on 9 August 2003 at the Country Lodge convention hall, Maasin City, Department of Agriculture Secretary Luis P. Lorenzo Jr. further emphasized that hybrid rice is the means to help acccelerate the country's efforts in propping up rice sufficiency index. Gladly, he disclosed that from nothing, we are now expecting 70,000 hectares to be planted with hybrid rice seeds. This figure is, of course, aside from the 27,000 hectares that were planted with this variety during the dry season.

Thus, as he seeks to improve these production figures, Secretary Lorenzo encourages farmers to go into hybrid rice production, not only for additional income but also to avail themselves of its high quality. He said, "Aside from the expected yield of 130-200 cavans/hectare, it will also keep our country on a competitive edge with other countries. This is because hybrid rice is very aromatic, soft, and almost glutinous once you cook it.


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