A 69-year-old rice farmer from Talavera, Nueva Ecija is bringing home a brand new Ford Ranger pickup as a prize for winning a yield competition in the province. Emmanuel Soleta was declared as ‘Ang Hari sa Ani’ grand winner in Nueva Ecija after recording the highest volume of yield in the recent summer harvest season using US-88 premium long-grain hybrid rice seed variety.
‘Ang Hari sa Ani’ was launched by SeedWorks Philippines in Nueva Ecija in September 2019. The contest was opened for qualified US-88 hybrid rice farmers across the region. The yield competition covered the dry season (November 2019 to April 2020).
SeedWorks set an hour-long awarding ceremony on July 24, 2020 at the Provincial Capitol at Palayan City in Nueva Ecija (strictly following the modified general community quarantine guidelines). Among the honorable guests are Nueva Ecija Governor Aurellio Umali, Provincial Agriculturist Bernardo Valdez, and directors from the Department of Agriculture, Regional Field Office III—Executive Director Cris Bautista and Technical Director Nelson Bautista.
As the farmer with the highest yield (15 tons or about 13,611 kilograms, which is more than thrice the national yield per hectare average of 4,070 kilograms as per January 2020 statistics data) during the contest proper, Soleta is entitled to the grand prize. Two other farmers with the second and third highest yields will each bring home a brand new motorcycle.
“We congratulate these farmers for making yields that are more than two to three times the national yield average,” said SeedWorks Philippines President Carlos Saplala. “The use of the US-88 hybrid rice variety plus the modern techniques to farming have really paid off. We hope that this will serve as an inspiration and motivation for our other fellow Filipino farmers to do better by adopting the best practices in rice farming.”
SeedWorks reiterates its advocacy in helping local farmers produce more rice, in support of the national government’s long-term commitment to make the country a self-sustaining nation in terms of food production. During the pandemic, the company has staunchly backed the Department of Agriculture’s ‘Plant, Plant, Plant’ program that emphasizes the importance of farming especially during times of global crisis like the current Covid-19 pandemic.
PH ‘rice bowl’ region
Central Luzon, which remains as the top rice-producing region in the country (based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority), accounts for 20.4 percent of the Philippines’ rice production. Thus, it is one of the two regions where ‘Ang Hari sa Ani’ was simultaneously rolled out—the other was Region 11.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, statistics’ data show that Nueva Ecija was the top rice-producing province in the region (and the country) with over 760,000 metric tons of yield. It was followed by Tarlac (over 275,000 metric tons) and Bulacan (over 174,000 metric tons).