NEGROS OCCIDENTAL will become the first provincial government to invest in a seed production program focused on at most three rice varieties, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Sunday.
Mr. Piñol said that upon agreement with Gov. Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr., the seeds will be distributed to farmers for free.
“Recipient farmers will in turn be required to ‘return’ two bags of seed which the provincial government will again distribute to two more farmers who will also be asked to pay back two bags of seeds each,” according to Mr. Piñol.
The three varieties are: Rc 216, RC 160 and RC222 which yield 9.7 tons per hectare, 8.2 tons per hectare, and 10 tons per hectare respectively, over a hundred or so days after sowing.
“The program for Negros Occidental to focus on just three varieties will be the first to be implemented nationwide,” Mr. Piñol said.
Mr. Piñol said that the multiple-variety farming system poses a problem in post-harvest operations because farmers who own small landholdings refuse to dry their palay (unmilled rice) in mechanical dryers because the various varieties require different treatment, a problem which also emerges in milling.
“The Negros Occidental 3-in-1 Rice Industry Program could serve as the blueprint for other provinces in the future,” Mr. Piñol said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio