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Hybrid rice production pushed
KORONADAL CITY -- The National Food Authority (NFA) has intensified the promotion of the planting of hybrid rice in Region 12 or Central Mindanao in a bid to ensure rice sufficiency in the region and the neighboring areas over the next decade.

Ernesto Macasinag, NFA Region 12 director, said the massive production of hybrid rice appears to be the most viable option for the area and the entire country in reducing the dependency on imported rice.

"If we could just increase our palay production, say 150 to 200 bags per hectare, then we may reduce or eventually stop our rice importation from Vietnam and other countries," he told reporters here.

The region, considered as among the rice granaries of Mindanao, was earlier tapped by the national government to be among the primary production areas for high-yielding hybrid rice varieties.

The NFA Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, (North) Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, Kidapawan, Tacurong and Cotabato.

Macasinag cited that through the improvement of some farming technologies, hybrid rice could potentially produce up to 250 bags per hectare.

In some areas of South Cotabato, the Magilas 500 hybrid rice variety was earlier recorded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to have increased the regular yield in the area by a record-high 30 percent.

The increase translates to some five to 7.5 metric tons of rice harvest per hectare, a significant improvement from previous levels of 3.5 metric tons per hectare of rain-fed farm using the traditional rice varieties.

Aside from Magilas 500, which was developed by the United States-based seed company Monsanto, DA also promoted the use of the Mestizo hybrid rice variety developed by the government-backed Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

According to PhilRice, hybrid rice was found to be favorable for planting only for one season a year in Luzon but in most parts of Mindanao, studies showed it could be planted all year round.

It cited that based on the experience in the 350-hectare testing area in Davao del Sur using the PSB Rc72H breed, potential yield in Mindanao farms could go as high as 7.5 to 9.5 tons per hectare.

In South Cotabato, PhilRice targeted at least 44,000 to 50,000 hectares for the planting of hybrid rice and another 3,000 hectares was being eyed for hybrid rice seed production. (Allen V. Estabillo)
MGR Archive 18.9.2005
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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