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Hybrid rice production supports food security 

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The government's goal to further improve the country’s food security levels this year has been largely supported by its effort on hybrid rice production, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Frisco Malabanan, senior technical consultant at SL Agritech Solutions, cited the improvement of the country's rice harvest since interventions to attain a higher rice adequacy level.

"Hybrid rice technology [is] the way to food security. More than 600 thousand hectares were harvested to hybrid rice during the last 2021 dry cropping season. This means the average yield was 6.07 metric tons (MT) per hectare or 33 percent higher yield than the average yield of inbred certified seeds of 4.55 MT per hectare," he said in Facebook post on Wednesday.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the total production contributed by hybrid rice in 2021 dry cropping season reached 3.67 million MT (MMT), which is 37 percent of the total palay production last dry season.

For 2021, the Duterte administration targets to produce 20.47 MMT of palay from 4.74 million hectares (ha), where farmers will be provided with free seeds of inbred and hybrid rice varieties through major interventions, particularly the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), expanded RCEF, rice resiliency project (RRP), and regular national rice program (NRP).

In 2020, the PSA projected that the country’s palay production would total 19.44 MMT, comprising of the actual harvest of 11.9 MMT, from January to September 2020, and a projected yield of 7.54 MMT in the fourth quarter, based on standing crop on Nov. 1, 2020.

The 2020 palay harvest is 3.3 percent more than the 18.81-MMT output in 2019, and surpassed the previous high of 19.27 MMT recorded in 2017.

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar has attributed the feat to the timely and sustained interventions under the Duterte administration’s “Plant, Plant, Plant” program.

The program includes the provision of free certified inbred seeds under the RCEF, and hybrid seeds and fertilizers under the RRP and NRP -- as well as the strong support of governors of top rice-producing provinces, and of farmers’ groups and federations.

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