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Calabarzon farmers explore new technologies at Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby

By Nimfa Estrellado Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby fieldBrgy. Tumbaga 1, Saiaya Quezon,. (Photo from SeedWorks Philippines, Inc.) SARI...

By Nimfa Estrellado

Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby fieldBrgy. Tumbaga 1, Saiaya Quezon,. (Photo from SeedWorks Philippines, Inc.)

SARIAYA, Quezon - The Department of Agriculture's Calabarzon Rice Program hosted the three-day Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby, which drew hundreds of rice growers from across Calabarzon to Sariaya, Quezon. The event, held from February 6 to 8, 2024, sought to empower farmers by presenting innovative technologies and best practices for increasing rice production and harvests.

Over 800 farmers participated in the derby, testing various hybrid rice varieties and fertilizers showcased by eight seed companies and seven fertilizer companies. The event also featured demonstrations of modern farming techniques and discussions with agricultural experts.

It was a collaborative effort between the DA Calabarzon Rice Program, local government units, seed companies, fertilizer companies, and the Sariaya Farmers Federation (SAFAFED).

The forum kicked off with the Regional Technology Forum, themed "Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby: Makabagong Teknolohiya, Maunlad na Pagsasaka," led by Regional Executive Director Engr. Marcos Aves, Sr., said the forum aimed to provide farmers with the latest information on hybrid rice and fertilizer technologies, as well as promote the adoption of modern farming practices.

Engr. Aves emphasized the importance of these innovations in increasing rice production and ensuring food security in the region. He also encouraged farmers to actively participate in the derby and take advantage of the opportunity to learn from experts and fellow farmers.

On the second day, farmers from Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon participated in a beneficial field tour and a discussion. This engaging event provided participants with first-hand information from both companies and other farmers, promoting a collaborative learning environment.

The DA Calabarzon also used this opportunity to recognize the significant contributions of government officials and businesses who have played critical roles in the success of the initiative. Additionally, the derby allowed participants to network and build connections with industry professionals, fostering potential partnerships and collaborations for future endeavors.

"This program is a great opportunity for our farmers to learn about new technologies that can help them increase their yields and income," Engr. Aves said.

"We are committed to supporting our farmers and ensuring the continued success of the agriculture sector in Calabarzon." he added.

Engr. Aves also highlighted the importance of conducting soil and water tests before planting hybrid rice. "Understanding your soil and water conditions is crucial for ensuring the success of your crop," he advised farmers.

The event included discussions on hybrid rice cultivation and pest management. Farmers learned about the benefits of using hybrid rice, which typically delivers higher yields compared to traditional varieties. They also received information on sustainable practices and responsible fertilizer use.

"We're committed to supporting our farmers and helping them adopt new technologies that can improve their livelihoods," said Edwin Baladad, president of SAFAFED.

He assured farmers that the organization would work with the national government to secure subsidies for those who face difficulties purchasing hybrid rice seeds. Baladad emphasized that the organization would also provide training and technical assistance to farmers to ensure the successful adoption of hybrid rice cultivation.

The Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby served as a valuable platform for farmers to learn about new technologies and connect with stakeholders in the agricultural sector. With continued support and collaboration, such initiatives can contribute significantly to improving rice production and food security in the Philippines.

The DA hopes that this event will encourage wider adoption of hybrid rice varieties, contributing to a more stable and secure food supply for the Philippines. Additionally, the local government of Sariaya sees this program as an opportunity to further strengthen the agricultural sector, which is a major source of livelihood and food in the town.

While concerns exist about the affordability of hybrid rice for small farmers, the Sariaya Farmers Federation (SAFAFED) has secured government subsidies to support their continued adoption. The Department of Agriculture is also committed to promoting hybrid rice varieties as a viable option for Filipino farmers.

Overall, the Hybrid Rice and Fertilizer Derby served as a valuable platform for knowledge sharing, technology demonstration, and collaboration, paving the way for a more productive and sustainable rice farming future in the Calabarzon region.

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