Grains and more at PhilRice

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


ONE of my top agri-tourist destinations is the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

The PhilRice-Negros Branch Station is a government facility established in Brgy. Cansilayan Murcia town during the time of the late governor Joseph Marañon in 2003, thus it is also known as the “Joseph G. Marañon Rice Experiment Station.”

It is a 90-hectare facility built throughh the collective effort of the Department of Agriculture, PhilRice main, and the provincial government.

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The PhilRice station proved to be a blessing for Negros Island and even for nearby provinces as farmers become nearer now to the source of seeds and make rice productivity prosper.

The station serves the local government units (LGUs), farmers and clients of Regions 6, 7, and 8. But currently Region 8 is covered by PhilRice-Bicol.

Consequently, Negros Occidental has been awarded as one of the Top 10 provinces in rice production for two years in the region and in the whole country. It is also one of my tourist destinations for farmers’ mobile learning and purchase of planting materials.

The PhilRice is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) created through Executive Order (EO) 1061 signed on November 5, 1985. It was amended though by EO 60 dated March 4, 2002 and EO 219 dated June 23, 2003 to help develop high-yielding technologies so that farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

PhilRice accomplishes this mission through research, technology promotion and policy advocacy, which are implemented through a network that includes 57 agencies and 78 seed centers strategically located nationwide.

Starting 2006, PhilRice implemented three new rice R&D programs (2006-2010) for favorable and unfavorable ecosystem; knowledge management and promotion.

Its activities are focused, output-driven and anchored on the technology needs of the integrated rice crop management and rice-based farming systems. These programs are designed for more efficient and effective systems for technology generation, packaging, and delivery to the Filipino farmers.

To date the station is having 6 hectares of certified organic palay seeds, integrated with tilapia, goat and ducks (mallard). They have also planted cardaba variety of banana along the access road of the station and they sell suckers to interested clients. Other inbred varieties planted for seeds are in different stages now—from heading to maturity.

What’s more, they are developing now their learning center for trainings. Mr. Edgar Libetario is still the acting branch manager, a humble gentleman whose footsteps inspire many farmers to follow the better way to optimum, if not maximum, rice production.

I remember Sir Ed still has 2 units of pheromone lure—a mechanical/natural control gadget that lures male fruit flies to the trap and presto! It will fall into the water under the lure. If you want to try it in your palayamanan (integrated rice-based farm) for your fruit vegetables, that would be great savings for your otherwise expensive chemical controlled farm.

I met Alvin early this February, and I thank him for reconnecting me to the rest of the staff for updates. I learned Sir Ed was in Manila during that time when I wanted to interview him, so it was Cheryl and him who gave me the update.

Indeed, Negros Occidental is a blessed province for having PhilRice in our territory— which means that no farmer can say, “I have no source of good certified seeds.” Our Seed Growers Association is also very active in supporting the farmers’ need of seeds on a regulated price.

Kudos to the people behind the PhilRice Negros Branch Station!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 25, 2015.

Lifestyle

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