SOUTHERN LEYTE LEADS IN HYBRID RICE PRODUCTION

MANILA, February 20, 2006
 (MALAYA) The support of the local government of Southern Leyte to the hybrid rice program has improved its rice production, making its yield average in 2004 exceed the country’s average production.

Southern Leyte’s average yield in 2004 was seven tons per hectare, while the country’s average yield in that same year was 6.8 tons per hectare, said Dr. Frisco Malabanan, director of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Rice Program.

Malabanan said the area planted to hybrid rice in Southern Leyte has already reached 3,000 hectares.

"The local government unit is very supportive of the program. There are additional seed subsidies and production loans to help the farmers," Malabanan said in an interview.

He said that before the implementation of the hybrid rice program, Leyte was even one of the lowest yielding provinces in terms of rice production.

The GMA Rice Program and the Philippine Rice Research Institute are the primary agencies tasked to implement the Hybrid Rice Commercialization Program.

The Department of Agriculture has been advancing the use of hybrid rice, with its estimated 33 percent yield advantage over inbred varieties, along with the use of other technologies like irrigation and fertilizer, to produce higher yield in view of the the depleting hectarage planted to rice.

Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban has said that the county would achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2009, due to projected improvements in farming practice and the expected increase in the areas planted to hybrid rice.

For this year, the DA is targeting to increase the area of lands planted to hybrid rice to 500,000 hectares from last year’s 400,000 hectares. – Reinir Padua


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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