MANILA— President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has agreed to adopt hybrid rice in an effort to boost farm yields, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
The Presidential Communications Office said a 2-year study by the Department of Agriculture and several local government units showed that hybrid seeds had better yields than conventional seeds.
Farmers who used hybrid rice harvested around 7 to 15 metric tons (MT) per hectare as compared to the average of 3.6 MT per hectare for non-hybrid seeds, the Palace said citing the study.
Marcos approved the adoption of hybrid rice after meeting with SL Agritech Corporation (SLAC) chairman and CEO Henry Lim Bon Liong, and farmers from Central Luzon, Malacañang said.
“We would like to apply kung ano ‘yung ginagawa ninyo dito sa Central Luzon… so we can apply sa ibang areas,” he said.
SLAC, a private company that distributes hybrid rice seeds, had proposed to convert 1.9 million hectares to hybrid rice in four years. Marcos said the government will provide subsidies and loans to farmers to promote the shift to hybrid rice.
Malacanang said that under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Program, the Landbank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines had already granted P3.37 billion in zero-interest and non-collateral loans to 10,643 rice farmers and 197 borrower organizations and cooperatives.
The President had vowed to bring down the rice prices to P20 per kilo during his election campaign.