By Warren Elijah E. Valdez

SULTAN KUDARAT – The Deparment of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao (DA-10) has partnered with the Central Mindanao University (CMU) to push a “hybrid rice derby” as part of their campaign of enhancing the rice productivity amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

On May 26, the DA-X, together with CMU and nine seed companies launched the 50-hectare hybrid rice derby and a technology demonstration in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon.

The regional agency said this initiative is intended “to boost rice productivity to attain rice sufficiency,” as this was also in support of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program and the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra COVID-19 program.

DA-10 regional director Carlene Collado said this initiative would help “ensure food productivity, availability, accessibility, and affordability” despite the threat of COVID-19.

Collado also said that intensifying the adoption of this hybrid rice technology among local farmers through the DA’s Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) intends to produce more rice to increase the national sufficiency level from 87 percent to 93 percent.

“The hybrid rice derby and technology demonstration aims to increase the national agri-fishery output through an intensified use of quality seeds, appropriate inputs, modern technologies to increase levels of productivity across all commodities,” he said.

DA-10 said the region is targeting a 94 percent sufficiency level, which is a 12 percent increase from its previous target last year “with various mitigating programs implemented to boost rice production.”

Director Collado also said that the project “pursues to convince farmers to plant hybrid rice by showcasing the best farming technologies and practices, which farmers “can feasibly adopt” to increase their efficiency and productivity.

The agency said the techno will demonstrate the effect of various planting approaches which include mechanical, manual, and direct seeding to yield using hybrid rice varieties.

“The techno demo will cover 45 hectares, giving each seed company five hectares, to be planted with their most leading varieties, using their own cultural practices protocol,” it said, noting that the five remaining hectares will be utilized for the “one common protocol for all cultural practices” to be adopted to all entry varieties.