The Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office No. 02 (DA-RFO 02) and seven (7) seed companies inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure the successful implementation of the Rice Hybridization Program in Cagayan Valley.

According to Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo, the region is now ready to implement the program in tandem with the private sector and the Local Government Units (LGUs).

“The region has a total target of 69,508 ha. to be planted with hybrid rice for this wet season,” he said.

“Please help us prove that using hybrid during the wet season is a productive endeavor of our farmers as per research results.”

Edillo explained that the MOA signing in compliance with the directives of DA-Central Office and Rice Productivity Advocacy Incorporated (Rice Board) that all seed companies participating in the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP) shall provide technical assistance to farmers from planting to harvesting as their social responsibility.

The Rice Hybridization Program is one of the strategies of DA to increase production through the provision of hybrid seeds adaptable in the region.

“This is a component of the RRP to be implemented this wet season all over Cagayan Valley,” uttered Regional Technical Director for Operations Roberto C. Busania.

“We are looking forward that this forged alliance with the private sector shall help solve the low level of adoption of hybrid seeds despite of the government’s intervention on seed subsidy to farmers.”

The hybrid seed companies include Bayer Crop Science Inc., SL Agritech Corporation, Pioneer Hi-bred Philippines Inc./Corteva AgriScience, Bioseed Research Philippines Inc., Seedworks Philippines Inc., Longping Tropical Rice Development Inc., and Syngenta Philippines Inc.

As per MOA, the companies shall ensure that seeds delivered have passed the seed standard, replace grains with poor germination based on laboratory test results conducted by the Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI), and ensure the availability of seeds on time as per purchase order.

Likewise, they shall provide technical assistance in the implementation of the program by monitoring of seed distribution, conduct a technical briefing on the package of technology, monitor crop establishment from seed sowing to harvesting, conduct baseline profiling of farmers and establish production learning center.

The DA shall procure hybrid rice seeds, allocate seeds to various municipalities based on farmer’s preference, and assign staff to assist in the implementation of the program in tandem with LGU and the private sector.

“There is a need for DA to contract with hybrid rice seed suppliers to implement the program to realize high production and income jointly,” said Dr. Marvin Luis, Regional Coordinator, Rice Program.

“Through this collaborative effort, we can improve implementation, especially at the ground level.”

Through the leadership of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, the department envisions to attain food security and improve farmers’ productivity and income soon with the battle cry, “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita.”

Also present during the signing are Engr. Generoso M. Oli, Chief, Field Operations Division, Ms. Corazon Cardenas, Regional Seed Coordinator, and other regional rice program staff.