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Senate to investigate hybrid rice program
AFTER the 780-million-peso fertilizer fund mess, the Senate is now set to probe government’s Hybrid Rice Commercialization (HRC) Program. The Senate on Monday adopted Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr.'s Senate Resolution 427, which also put into question the efficacy of the hybrid technology.

Magsaysay, head of the Senate committee on food and agriculture, stressed that while seeds comprise only nine percent of rice production cost, the HRC program gets 60 percent of the total government budget for rice farming.

Magsaysay noted that water, pests, diseases, soil fertility, and other factors, which comprise 91 percent of the rice production efficiency, get very little in terms of government support funds.

Citing research reports of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and the Rice Watch and Action Network, Magsaysay said some 80 percent of farmers who received the seeds reject the HRC program after one season.

“Hybrid rice adaptability to different site-specific tropical conditions of the Philippines remains a major research challenge causing production failures and farmer rejection of the seeds,” he said.

“The government subsidy for hybrid rice seeds is most probably benefiting only seed companies who supply the government,” Magsaysay added.

Rationalizing the Senate probe, he also cited a report of the Commission on Audit, which found that the HRC program “could not properly account for more than 55.7 million pesos as of December 2004, and financial reports have not adequately covered the 945 million pesos hybrid funds of 2004.”

Magsaysay said the program received a budget of 780 million pesos in 2005, to be increased to 1.02 billion pesos this year and to 2.5 billion pesos in 2007.
MGR Archive 31.1.2006
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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