MANILA — The Department of Agriculture (DA) aims to plant hybrid seeds in the Visayas and southern parts of the country as it eyes to boost yields and reach rice self-sufficiency, an official said Thursday.
Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel De Mesa said they also want to plant hybrid seeds in the Bangsamoro, Western and East Visayas, and Davao regions aside from the usual areas they plant these varieties.
At present, he said their existing areas for hybrid seeds are located in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon.
"Tututukan natin na masigurado na iyong minimum na 1.5 million hectares sa dry season kasi overall ang ating harvested area ay mahigit sa 4 na milyong ektarya sa buong bansa, so iyong ani natin sa hybrid about 8 to 10 metric tons per hectare; ang inbred naglalaro iyan mga 5 to 6 metric tons per hectare," De Mesa said in a public briefing.
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, Malacañang earlier said, citing a study.
This was why President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. backed the use of hybrid seeds to bolster rice yields, as a study showed that farmers' harvests on these were better than those of conventional seeds.
For De Mesa, they want to plant hybrid seeds every dry season as harvests during this time for this type of seeds are better.
They are also eyeing to partner with the National Irrigation Administration for this program.
"Walang sakit, madaling din ang bagyo – so, kapag naitanim natin ito sa 1.5 million hectares natin, kasama rin natin ang National Irrigation Administration na masigurado na may patubig ay mas mai-ensure natin na all throughout the year ay mas magiging mataas ang lebel ng production natin sa palay," he said.
Marcos, Jr earlier said the country can achieve rice self-sufficiency should a "major reorganization" take place in several of the country's agencies, including the DA.
"And sa aming calculation, kung magawa natin lahat ng kailangang gawin kasi marami tayong kailangan ayusin, marami tayong ire-reorganize -- pero kung magawa natin lahat ‘yan, we will be close to self-sufficiency for rice in two years,” Marcos said.
“There’s a great deal of work to do pero nakikita na namin kung papaano gagawin. So that’s what we will work on for now.”