PhilRice gives Visayas farmers certified seeds from Bohol

By Rey Anthony Chiu | 06:30 PM November 11, 2023

That seed quality, yield potential and its resilience to the challenges brought by climate change has pushed the inbred certified rice seeds by Boholano farmers out into the fields of farmers in Central and Eastern Visayas. 

Through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) quality seeds distribution program, these inbred rice seeds, all tested and proven to be suited for rain-fed farms and are heat resistant are produced by the 75 active Boholano seed growers whose seed growing processes have been accredited by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) through the National Seed Control Services, according to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) in Bohol. 

Lorebien Lagapa, OPA Provincial Seed Coordinator the DA Provincial Agricultural Technology Coordination Office Rice Action Officer Ma. Chona Maleza bared this, during the recent Kapihan sa PIA, which was streamed live over PIA Bohol facebook and you tube channel and on delayed cast at dyTR AM Friday, November 9. 

To have produced these high yielding inbred rice, these farmer scientists underwent rigorous training and retooling seminars to make sure they do the processes right, and get the best seeds that the region would need to cover up the rice production gap in areas beyond the reach of irrigation facilities, DA said. 

For years now, Boholanos have been growing their own inbred seeds, carefully selecting the best quality seeds and producing better generations of these seeds to increase yield in rainfed areas which have been producing low harvests. 

As these seed growing farmers are ready with their seeds for certification, BPI tests these seeds to validate the claims before issuing a certification and accrediting the farmers for their seeds produced. 

In Bohol seed growers sell their inbred certified seeds at a much better price than the rice for milling, adding huge value to the hard work they commit in farming. 

Because of this, PhilRICE in September of 2023, recognized Bohol for its Outstanding Rice Seed program, in the implementation of its Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Program. 

Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado, who was extremely happy with the recognition promised to provide more funds for rice production and technologies, to assert the province’s claim as the rice basket for the Visayas. 

During the time of then governor Erico Aumentado, the present governor’s father, Bohol attained a rice sufficiency level of over 100%, a feat that the son is also striving to regain. 

Rice Seed Coordinator Lagapa also bared that the RCEF Program in Bohol has benefited the 29, 237 Boholano farmers who received the quality certified rice seeds of about 45, 830 bags of 20kgs each.

These seeds, when planted, produced a yield of 3.6 metric tons (MT) per hectare and is still increasing, which is already quite much, DA sources said. 

Inbred rice growers then, get 2 MT per hectare, according to Cecile Opada, DA-7 Rice Report Officer. 

The certified inbred seeds that these accredited seed growers produced are now being consolidated by a local farmers’ cooperative called Bohol Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative (BOFAMCO) who gathers these for the PhilRice seed distribution program across the region, Lagapa said. 

Moreover, these inbred rice seeds have been monitored to already hand to the farmers a yield of at least 5 metric tons per hectare, she reported. 

Coupled with proper timing in fertilizer application and crop care, farmers here are expecting even higher yields, which is why the DA’s 2023 budget priority in production support services will double to P500 million in 2024, and this would be for the allocation for seeds, farm inputs and farm machineries, all aimed at achieving rice self-sufficiency, in Bohol and in the region. 

Bohol is presently supplying over 70% of the Central Visayas demand for rice, data showed. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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