The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program, through its technology demonstration project dubbed as “PalaySikatan,” continues to showcase the benefits of using recommended rice varieties and modern farm technologies in select areas of the country.
Farmer Orlando B. Cruz, 58, from Guiguinto, Bulacan, harvested 9.6 tons per hectare and earned P84,800 by planting NSIC Rc 436 he received from the RCEF Seed Program of the Department of Agriculture-PhilRice. His farm also served as one of the PalaySikatan technology demonstration sites of the municipality.
Since the program continuously educates rice farmers about modern technologies, Mang Orlando seizes this opportunity to enhance his farming knowledge, which is helping him increase his yield and income.
“We want farmers to personally experience the technologies and practices that we introduced. Because they do it themselves, they can witness and prove its efficiency. We are here to provide technical assistance from seed to seed,” RCEF Seed Program Field Operations and Monitoring Head Rizal Corales said.
Currently in its third year, PalaySikatan through DA-PhilRice features modern inbred rice varieties coupled with integrated crop management practices and technologies in the major rice farm operations including crop establishment, pest and nutrient management, and harvest operations.
Among the nationally recommended rice varieties being promoted include NSIC Rc 222, Rc 216, and Rc 402 for the 2021 wet season to 2023 dry season. Location-specific varieties are also being cultivated in the techno demo, each varying according to the region and province where the site has been established.
“The seeds we are promoting are already pre-identified based on its adaptability in the area. When we say ‘national recommended varieties,’ these are suited anywhere in the country and anytime of the year,” Corales explained.
The program also strongly recommend the adoption of seeding rate for inbred rice, which is 40 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) when transplanted, or 60-80 kg/ha when direct-seeded.
PalaySikatan farmer-co-operators are also encouraged to use nutrient diagnostic tools like the Minus-one Element Technique, a simple and practical diagnostic tool in assessing soil nutrient limitations in actual field conditions. It analyzes the main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, including the trace elements: copper, zinc, and sulfur, and provides more accurate fertilizer recommendations by determining the right element, amount and time of application.
Farm machines like seeders, spreaders, and transplanters for crop establishment, and combine harvester for harvesting are also strongly showcased in PalaySikatan.