The farming community of Laur in Nueva Ecija is kicking off the start of the summer harvest season with high confidence. Many rice farmers in the town are looking forward to a better harvest, which they expect to exceed the average yield in the area.
One of the farmers, 50-year-old Raffy Alcantara was ahead of the pack after completing his harvest in the first week of April. Alcantara harvested 263 cavans or around 14,202 kilograms (1 cavan is about 54 kilograms) of rice from a 1.5-hectare land. That translates to 9.43 tons of rice per hectare, higher from his previous harvest by 2.743 tons—generating an estimated P54,860 additional income.
The farmer attributed his best harvest ever to his decision to plant TH-82 seedlings this season. The hybrid rice variety is one of the breeds developed by SeedWorks Philippines.
More resilient variety
“Mas mainam at hindi takaw sakit (Better and not easily susceptible to diseases” was how Alcantara described his crop this season. He was one of the hundreds of farmers (members of the Laur Communal Irrigators Association or LACIA) who were recipients of a total of 1,100 bags of TH-82 rice seedlings distributed for free by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“We are glad to have implemented this project, which is part of a collaboration between us from the private sector, the Department of Agriculture, and local government units,” said SeedWorks Philippines President Carlos Saplala.
This initiative is part of SeedWorks’ efforts to introduce more Filipino farmers to the benefits of choosing hybrid rice over inbred rice varieties. TH-82 is the company’s hybrid variety that is recommended for the wet season as the rice plant tends to be sturdier and more resilient to extreme weather. Laur is a farming town where soil tends to be wet all year due to effective irrigation.
“The company wants farmers to experience for their selves the advantage of hybrid rice varieties on a trial basis,” said SeedWorks International CEO Venkatram Vasantavada. “We will not offer TH-82 and US-88 to the market if we are not confident after trying and testing the varieties sufficiently.”
Laur is an agricultural town with about 2,958 hectares of farming fields cultivated by up to 1,700 farming families. According to Laur Municipal Agriculturist Eugenia Manabat, only about 200 to 300 hectares of land are planted with TH-82 this season, as some farmers opted to store their seedlings for the meantime to use those in the wet planting season and to see first how their fellow farmers’ harvests would be this summer.
“Our farmers will now have a basis for comparison,” said Manabat. “Sa palagay ko, mas maganda ang ani ngayon kesa mga nagdaan (I think our harvest will be greater this season),” she remarked, noting that she herself also owns a farm that is planted with TH-82 and is up for harvesting in the coming days.