The Philippine Rice Research Institute – Batac has established nine new technology demonstration sites in Region 1 this wet season 2022 under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Seed Program.

Dubbed PalaySikatan, the technology demonstration project uses research-based rice production technologies and on-farm performance of mechanically established inbred rice varieties.

In partnership with the local government units of Tagudin, Salcedo and Quirino in Ilocos Sur and San Gabriel and Balaoan in La Union and more than 50 farmers, the initiative will help promote the adoption of quality seeds of high-yielding inbred rice varieties, integrated crop management (PalayCheck), and cost-reducing rice mechanization interventions.

Through the PalaySikatan, rice farmers will become competitive and adaptive in the use of high-yielding inbred varieties and new farming technologies and machinery,” PhilRice Batac RCEF Coordinator Bethzaida Catudan said.

Each site covered 3 hectares of adjacent rice fields to promote national and regional inbred rice varieties. The recommended fertilizer rate in each site was based on the results of the Minus-One Element Technique (MOET).

From 2021 dry season to 2022 dry season, DA-PhilRice Batac has showcased the latest recommended varieties for the region including newly-released varieties and farm mechanization in 22 sites covering 132ha involving 196 farmer-cooperators.

Although Ilocos Sur and La Union were hit by typhoon Maring in 2021 wet season, which damaged the standing rice crop in the PalaySikatan setups, many of which had already been at maturity phase, palay yield was still high at 5t/ha,” Catudan said.

The RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allots P10 billion fund every year for the rice farmers from the rice tariff earnings of the country. The program is a six-year government initiative to help farmers compete in the international rice market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation. 

DA-PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program and is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines.