CHEN YI Agventures calls said better farming practices are needed to maximize the impact of high-yielding hybrid seed, the use of which is poised to raise the rice industry’s competitivenes under a government-funded program.

In an interview, Chen Yi co-founder Patrick Francois Renucci said: “There is no positive impact of hybrid seed because the yield is the same. Imagine if farmers were equipped with the latest farming machinery, and practice good farming techniques, there’s a huge potential for farming in the country,” Mr. Renucci added.

His observation has been that farmers who use hybrid seed have the same yields as those using inbred seeds.

“Prices of palay (unmilled rice) can be lowered further by changing the bad farming habits that Filipino farmers still practice,” he said, adding that they and their farms have to be ready for the new seed.

Providing high-yield seed is one of the government’s strategies for boosting yields. The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), funded from rice import tariffs, hopes to deploy its P10 billion a year funding by supporting mechanization, credit, know-how, and fertilizer, as well as seed.

Chen Yi President Rachel Renucci-Tan said the company assists farmers in improving productivity and incomes via the Renucci Partnership Program and Renucci Palay Procurement Program, which when combined make up a partner grower arrangement under which Chen Yi buys their harvest.

Chen Yi has 700 farmers in the Renucci Partnership program in Alang Alang, Leyte.

The partnership program provides low-interest loans, fertilizer, pesticides, inbred seed, and planting and harvesting equipment.

Ms. Renucci-Tan said: “We hope that others follow our program so that the need to import rice declines.”

Chen Yi Agventures operates its own fully-automated Rice Processing Center (RPC) using Japanese technology. It claims the center is the most advanced in Southeast Asia.

The center stores palay in temperature-controlled wet bins before and after drying to maintain reshness. It is then stored in temperature-controlled silos.

Chen Yi Agventures invested P1.7 billion in the rice processing center.

The company’s Dalisay Rice won the 3rd place at the World Rice Conference competition last year. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave