Rice seed storage practices cited as an issue in crop quality

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THE INBRED rice seed currently being handed out to farmers is designed to be planted right away, and improper storage in the event of delays could affect the quality of the crop, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said.

The government is currently distributing seed as part of the mandate of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

In a statement, RCEF Project Management Office Project Development Officer Julian C. Macadamia said planting delays may include typhoons or insufficient water, which could lead to moisture accumulation on improperly-stored seed.

“The certified inbred seeds given to the beneficiaries must be immediately planted. However, should farmers be unable to plant the seeds right away, they must ensure proper storage to maintain its quality,” Mr. Macadamia said.

Mr. Macadamia said that seed can be stored six to eight months in high-quality storage facilities.

PhilRice said a proper seed storage facility should be waterproof, aerated, and free of rats, birds, and insects.

The storage area should also be clean inside and out to prevent the re-entry of moisture.

Mr. Macadamia encouraged farmers to inspect their stocks at least once a week to detect pest infestation, physical damage, or staining caused by water. Certified inbred seed should also be kept apart from agricultural chemicals, fertilizer, or cement.

Also, “very long storage also lowers seed germination rate. If farmers or local government units aren’t able to immediately plant the seed, we encourage them to inform our office so we can allocate the seed to other areas with more immediate need,” Mr. Macadamia said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave