A single musical instrument can never produce a music. But a group and a well orchestrated one coupled with perfect rhythm and harmony produces a beautiful melody song.
It also runs this way. It takes an individual to construct a house. But it takes a team to build a home.
This holds true with a living testimony of a “High Yielding Technology Adoption for Hybrid Rice (HYTA-HR) beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 02 (DA-RFO 02), the “Baro a Langa Ti Mannalon Farmers Association (BLTMFA)” in Gamu, Isabela.
The story of the BLTMFA is timely with the passing of the Rice Tariffication Law (RA 11203) wherein the importation of rice is open considering the capacity of the BLMTFA members as hybrid farmers coupled with their assets as of the moment.
Farming is the major source of livelihood of the populace in the area.
According to Mr. Exequiel C. Tabin, Municipal Agriculturist, Gamu, Isabela, the source of water for the production of rice are irrigation system by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the use of shallow tube wells (STWs).
He added that one of the problems encountered by the farmers is the lack of irrigation water since majority of the paddy areas are located in the tail end portion of irrigation system. However, the situation did not hinder the farmers in the area to plant rice. Thus, they procured and established their own STWs most especially on the Western Part of Gamu.
Their eagerness and decision to procure and established the STWs on their own to satisfy the irrigation water needs of their rice plant had benefited them not only in increasing their yield but this is also the reason for them to be qualified as recipients of HYTA-HR and Model Cluster Projects of DARFO 02.
It has been noted that one of the project HYTA-HR criteria shall be confined to fully irrigated farms to ensure the attainment of high yield. However, rainfed areas classified as “favourable shall also be considered.
“We have submitted our target to DARFO 02 and we are lucky because as per validation conducted by the DARFO 02 and Research Centers/Experiment Stations management, we were qualified to become beneficiaries of HYTA-HR”, exclaimed Mr. Exequiel.
As per report from the DARFO 2 Rice Program, the HYTA-HR project started in 2016. The initial allocated GAA budget regionwide was Php186,906,000.00 with a target palay seeds which is good for 93,528 hectares. For 2016 and 2018, the budget allocated for the project totalled to Php109,150,000.00 and Php365,211,000.11, respectively.
The DA-RFO 02 provided hybrid seeds to the qualified associations/recipients without cost (grant) and distributed to its member on a “Plant Now Pay Later” scheme.
The farmer recipients were provided with one (1) bag hybrid seeds at 15 to 18 kg per hectare (ha). A maximum of two (2) hectares per farmer were provided regardless of landholding. Varietal preferences of farmer beneficiaries were considered.
As per memorandum of agreement signed by the HYTA-HR implementers, the farmer beneficiaries were obliged to enrol to Rice Crop Manager (RCM) Advisory System or Soil Analysis as basis in fertilizer management.
All the qualified recipients are required to implement the project in accordance with the set of guidelines.
As regards to the procurement, positioning and warehousing of seeds, the DA-RFO 02 procured the seeds in accordance with the RA 9184 and facilitate the delivery and positioning of the seeds from the supplier to the designated drop-off points in every province.
Mr. Exequiel expressed his gratitude to the DARFO 02 management since their municipality was qualified as HYTA-HR project recipient.
He happily disclosed the existence of “Climate Resilient Farmers” in Mabini, Gamu particularly the “Baro A Langa ti Mannalon Farmers Association” of which they are a recipient of the HYTA-HR project.
He said, they are climate resilient since they usually advance the planting of their rice which is usually started in the month of October to November compared to the scheduled date which is December during Dry Season and April or May as to the scheduled June-July planting during Wet Season. They are doing this to escape typhoons during the months of October and November. Majority of the Mabini farmers now have their own open source pumps (OSPs).
To date, the area planted with hybrid seeds in Gamu, most especially Mabini during dry season cropping was almost 3,000 hectares (Ha) compared with more than 300Ha several years ago, Exequiel stressed. They are also practicing compact and simultaneous planting to avoid the occurrence of pests and diseases.
Upang matugunan ang ambisyon ng kasalukuyang administration, iminimungkahi ko na sana tularan ng ibang munisipyo ang aming munting praktis sa pagtatanim ng hybrid sa kabila ng kakulangan ng patubig, ani ni Mr. Exequiel.
What is in a name?
The “Baro A Langa ti Mannalon Farmers Association” connotes a new breed of farmers that can be compared to “Generation Z or Gen Z”, wherein farmers nowadays uses modern gadgets in acquiring farming technologies, said Reymel B. Linda, President BLTMFA
“Baro a Langa ang pangalan kasi ang mga magsasaka ngayon ay gumagamit ng ibat’-ibang gadgets kagaya ng cellfon sa pagkuha ng impormasyon sa pagtatanim ng palay. Iba na po ngayon dahil may improvement na ang buhay, new way o makabagong pamamaran ng pagsasak”, pagpapaliwanag ni Mang Reymel.
The association was organized in October 29, 2015 with an initial member of 28. They started cultivating a palay production area of 60 hectares. It was registered on January 25, 2016 with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Its members grew from 28 to 187 as of March 2016 and the cultivated area is 916 hectares.
In 2016, the association sought the assistance of the Municipal Local Government Unit of Gamu and the DA-RFO 02 regarding the Hybrid Rice Packaged of Technology. The association met the criteria set by DA-RFO 02 and luckily, they became a recipient of the HYTA-HR of the department.
Mr. Linda added that their association was granted with 793 bags of hybrid seeds by the DARFO 02 under the HYTA-HR program amounting to Php3,727,100.00. The collection rate during that time is almost 100%.
In Wet Season of 2016, the collected fund was used to purchased hybrid and inbred seeds preferred by their member. The DARFO 02 granted the association with 340 bags of certified seeds amounting to Php391,000.00 under the same project. Since the association have accumulated a fund out of the distributed seeds to the members, they purchased 1,976 bags of fertilizer and distributed to the members to be paid after harvest season.
During the 2017 Dry Season (DS) cropping, the rice area cultivated with hybrid seeds increased to 1,300 hectares and the members became 260.
Owing to their good performance in the repayment of hybrid seeds distributed to them by DARFO 02, they were again granted with 820 bags of hybrid seeds as prize in effectively implementing the project amounting to Php3,034,000.00 with a repayment again of almost 100 percent (%).
To make their member’s life easy and will not be burden in financing their rice entrepreneur endeavour, the association purchased 4,500 bags of fertilizer and distributed free to the members.
“Gumanda ang aming ani at bumuti ang estado ng aming buhay”. Our rice production increased and the life of the members was also improved, said Mang Reymel.
Other institutions like the National Food Authority (NFA) granted them with moisture meter under the corn development fund for them to monitor the desired moisture content of their palay whether for sale as fresh or for storing purposes.
For 2017 Wet Season cropping, the association expands its membership to 275 with a hybrid rice area of 1,200. Although the HYTA-HR was temporarily stop in WS 2017, the association did not stop in planting hybrid seeds, instead, they procured their own hybrid seeds, 4,500 bags of fertilizer and pesticides and other farm inputs for distribution to all the members.
During the same WS cropping in 2017, the association became a recipient 90 hectare hybrid seeds under the Rice Model Farm Cluster Project (RMFCP).
According to Linda, in 2018 during DS cropping, the association purchased 2,230 bags of private hybrid seeds (SL-8) and 4,750 bags of fertilizer and chemicals.
He also emphasized that during the DS 2017 cropping schedule, the association expands its Hybrid Model Farm Cluster area from 90-170 hectares.
Result of the Technology Demonstration project
“Sa aking kapwa magsasaka, ituloy po natin ang ating magandang samahan nang sa gayon ay magkaroon tyo ng sapat na bigas at hindi tayo magkukulang, said Mang Reymel.
He also influenced his fellow farmers to continue what they have started in their organization/association to have a steady supply of rice.
“Dati umaani lamang kami ng mga apat (4) na metriko tonelada (MT) kada ektarya o mga 80 bags ng palay kada ektarya sa inbred varieties pero dahil sa programa ng DARFO 02 na HYTA-HR, umaabot na ang ani namin ngayon ng mga walo at kalahating metriko tonelada/8.5MT o 170 bags kada ektarya kaya malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa DA sa pag introduce sa amin ng HYTA –HR project”, Mang Reymel exclaimed.
Sa mga sumusunod na taon, sana magkaroon pa rin tayo ng mas maraming programa mula sa DA nang sa gayon ay magkaroon tayo ng “One-Stop-Shop” na samahan kung saan doon na po manggagaling ang lahat ng farm inputs at magkaroon ng magandang produksyon sa hinaharap, stressed Mang Reymel.
What is notable about the BLTMFA is that they were able to influence other barangays in the adjacent area to plant hybrid rice and to form their own association.
To date, the association reached an asset of more than Php8.0 million pesos from the starting capital of only Php15 thousand pesos.
Aside from hybrid seeds, the association was also a recipient of farm machinery like combine harvester.
They were also procured their own elf-truck from the proceeds gained from HYTA-HR for them to use in hauling their harvest anytime the members need it.
“Marami pong naidulot ang pagtatanim namin ng hybrid seeds, tumaas po ang aking ani na dati’y 4.0MT kada ektarya subalit ngayon ay umaabot na hanggang 8.5MT kada ektarya. Kaya laking tuwa ko dahil nakabayad na ako ng utang at napaaral ko pa ang mga anak ko” said Mang Fredie Andres, member, BALTMFA
Twist of faith
The BLTMFA’s plans is to convert their association into a strong organization so that their services and products will not only be confined to seeds, fertilizer, farm service provider and elf-truck for hauling their palay harvest from the farm but to include facility such as Rice Processing Milling Center. They also envisions to be a recipient of solar powered irrigation project of the DA so that their dreams as supplier of rice regionwide and as contributory in achieving a rice secured-region will be realized.
It was indeed a twist of faith for BLTMFA BODs and members of getting high on hybrid despite their palay production areas were located in the tail end of NIA irrigation system. (With reports from Rice program)