AGRICULTURE HYBRIDS TECH  DEEMED BEST OPTION TO RICE  SELF-SUFFICIENCY
 

MANILA, FEBRUARY 28, 2008 (STAR) “The hybrid rice technology is the best alternative or option to be able for us to achieve self-sufficiency of the cereal,” said Dr. Frisco M. Malabanan, director of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“We are happy to note that in Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Cagayan, Pangasinan, Leyte, Davao del Norte, and in several other provinces we had visited, farmers planting the hybrid rice more than doubled their harvest and dramatically increased their income,” Malabanan said.

The DA embarked on the hybrid rice program in 2001 in a bid to reduce the country’s rice importation thereby saving for the country billions of pesos every year.

Malabanan had said earlier that had it not been for the contribution of hybrid rice to total rice production, “our country might have resorted to more rice importation because of its inability to cope with rising per capita consumption coupled by production growth of 2.3 percent per year.”

Henry Lim Bon Liong, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of SL Agritech Corp., the country’s top producer of SL-8H hybrid rice seeds, said Regions I, II, III, IV-B and VII topped the list of hybrid rice planting.

“Many farmers are planting the hybrid rice seeds variety because they are now convinced that, indeed, it has substantially increased their production and income.”

SL Agritech is increasing the production of its SL-8H hybrid rice seeds variety to cope with the demand.

Aside from its 700-hectare hybrid rice production area in Lupon, Davao Oriental, SL Agritech has developed over 100 hectares of farmland in Tabuk, Kalinga, for massive hybrid rice seed production. Its 40-hectare hybrid rice research center is in Barangay Oogong in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

The firm is scheduled to ship sometime this year, 750 metric tons (MT) of its SL-8H hybrid rice seeds variety to Indonesia. Last year, it exported 500 MT of the same rice variety to that country.

Lim said Indonesia has millions of hectares of potential rice lands that will be planted to hybrid rice.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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