Magsasaka Siyentista, Other Farmer-Leaders Trained to Produce High-quality Inbred Rice Seeds

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The participants of the training review their outputs during the levelling-off activity at PhilRice.

MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija—With the growing need to ensure sustainable food production in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) works harder to further capacitate farmers and promote high-yielding technologies on farming.

With this, the DA, through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), held the Training Course on the Production of High-quality Inbred Rice Seeds and Farm Mechanization. This activity was also made possible through the support of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson Cynthia Villar, through the Villar Social Institute for Poverty and Governance or Villar SIPAG.

“Not all farmers use high-quality seeds and promoting this is a big challenge for us at the DA,” DA Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Andrew Villacorta said during the opening program for the 10-day training.

With the low number of extension workers who can help promote this technology to all farmers, Villacorta spoke of the need to continue capacitating and forming partnerships with a wide network of farmers including the Magsasaka Siyentista (MS), local farmer technicians (LFTs), and other farmer-leaders who took part in the training.

“I am thankful that you all joined this training because we expect you to become our partners in addressing the gaps in this sector,” he added as he spoke to the participants.

PhilRice Acting Deputy Executive Director for Development Karen Eloisa Barroga stressed the important role of farmers in the speedy dissemination of information on the production and use of high-quality seeds that is seen to help increase farmers’ yield and income.

“We all have a part to play to achieve our shared vision of a rice-secure Philippines. I hope that you will be able to appreciate your role through this training. This is our starting point before you go on and study about the technologies,” Barroga said.

A total of 31 MS, LFTs, and farm group leaders, mostly from different regions in Luzon, were part of the first of two batches of farmers that will be trained to produce high-quality seeds on their own. For the first part of the training led by PhilRice, the participants reviewed the PalayCheck system, learned how to achieve and maintain seed quality, and were guided to understand the seed exchange program.

Modules under the second part led by PHilMech include lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on activities on land and seedling preparation, harvesting, drying, among others.

Speaking on behalf of Villar during the opening program was her chief of staff, Atty. Rhaegee Tamaña. In her speech, Tamaña spoke of the need to develop a new mindset among farmers to embrace the use of high-quality inbred rice seeds and farm mechanization so that they can to compete in the international market.

The Training Course on the Production of High-quality Inbred Rice Seeds and Farm Mechanization kicked off on July 20 at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station. The activity will end on July 31 with a graduation ceremony to be attended by Villar and officials from DA, PhilRice, PHilMech, and ATI.