February 16, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has agreed to adopt hybrid rice as a better alternative to the inbred variety for increased crop production.
According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Wednesday, Marcos on Tuesday met with SL Agritech Corporation (SLAC) chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Henry Lim Bon Liong and farmers from Central Luzon to address the challenges in the rice industry.
In the meeting, the SLAC, a private firm engaged in the research, development, production, and distribution of hybrid rice seeds and premium quality rice, recommended the conversion of rice farming areas for certified seeds (CS) to hybrid seeds.
The SLAC proposed to convert 1.90 million hectares target areas planted with CS to hybrid seeds in four years.
According to the PCO, Marcos said he will implement a program to promote the shift by providing subsidies and facilitating loan financing to farmers.
Aside from his commitment to further strengthening financial support to local farmers via the loan financing program, the President also vowed to apply the best practices being done by Central Luzon farmers to other areas in the country.
“We would like to apply kung ano ‘yung ginagawa ninyo dito sa Central Luzon… so we can apply sa ibang areas,” Marcos said, as quoted by the PCO.
(We would like to apply whatever you are doing here in Central Luzon… so we can apply it in other areas)
Citing a study by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and local government units, the PCO said the hybrid system has given 41% better yield than inbred conventional seeds over the past two years.
“Hybrid farmers have reported harvesting around 7 to 15 metric tons (MT) per hectare as compared to the average 3.6 MT/hectare for inbred seeds,” the Palace said.
Bon Liong said that if adopted nationwide on a two-cropping cycle per year, hybrid technology will give better income to farmers and achieve rice sufficiency for the country.
From January to November 2022, the National Rice Program served 1.06 million rice farmers and 3,528 farmer cooperatives through the provision of hybrid and inbred or certified seeds, production-related and post-harvest machinery, small-scale irrigation, as well as extension and training activities.
The program also established Hybrid Rice Model farms.
Under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Program, the Landbank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) granted P3.37 billion in zero-interest and non-collateral loans to 10,643 rice farmers and 197 borrower organizations and cooperatives.