With the theme, “Masaganang Palay at Bigas, Maunlad na Pilipinas,” the 16th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) was launched on September 19, 2023 in Hagonoy and Digos City, Davao del Sur.
The three-day event, which is expected to draw a thousand of participants from the different parts of the country, aims at promoting the adoption of yield-boosting rice technologies by showcasing high-yielding and climate-resilient rice varieties, machinery, and best practices in a 131.83-hectare demonstration area.
As a collaborative project by the national government, local government units (LGUs), local farmers, and other partners and stakeholders from the private sector, the NRTF responds with the President’s directives to boost the country’s local rice production and ensure food security through convergence and cooperation.
Spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao Regional Field Office (RFO 11), DA-Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC 11), and the private sector-led Rice Board, the event kicked off with a field tour at the technology demonstration farms in Poblacion, Hagonoy.
The techno demo farms showcased 24 hybrid rice varieties and smart technologies that have been tried and tested to be high-yielding, pest and disease resistant and climate-resilient contributing higher income for farmers and high quality and affordable rice for consumers.
During the NRTF, thirteen seed companies and six nutrient management companies presented their products, best practices, and technologies for proper land preparation, soil and water management, nutrient management, and pest and disease management, among others.
In addition, the NRTF featured a Tekno-Tiangge or a Technology Marketplace and a “Tektok” or the Digital Agriculture and Farm Machinery and Equipment Demo.
Officials and representatives from the Rice Board, DOST-PAGASA, and DA offices including the Masagana Rice Industry Development Program (MRIDP), Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) also played key roles during the event.
They discussed the plans and programs to ramp up local production, El Niño action plans, hybrid and inbred rice production, balanced fertilization strategies, pest and disease management, mechanization, and digital agriculture, among others.
DA-MRIDP Productivity Enhancement Focal Person, Dr. Frisco Malabanan, discussed the program goals of attaining stable rice supply, affordable rice, prosperous rice-based farming communities, and nutritious rice-secured population under the overall goal of 97.5% rice self-sufficiency by 2028.
He also discussed the immediate plans of the program such as the distribution of inputs such as hybrid seeds, biofertilizers, and inorganic fertilizers, provision of drone services, and the intensified promotion of farm clustering and consolidation.
“To transform Philippine agriculture, we need to focus on markets, innovations, scale, mainstreaming, and outcomes,” Dr. Malabanan said.
He also stressed the need to mainstream the transformation efforts into the country’s policies, programs, and investment plans.
The NRTF will culminate on September 21, 2023 in time with the start of the harvest operations at the techno demo site that is expected to produce a minimum of seven tons per hectare. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)