Former AFP soldier now highest yielder of Arize hybrid rice

May 29, 2020

General Santos City, May 29, 2020 – A former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) military man was recognized by government for the highest yield of 313 cavans in Region 12 with Arize Bigante Plus hybrid rice planted on 1.7 hectares in Brgy. Ligaya, General Santos.

   Edgar Romupal, 50, felt encouraged and happy for having turned to farming, the livelihood of his parents. Leveling up this time, he adopted hybrid rice technology to increase his yield and income.

Former AFP soldier Edgar Romupal beams with hope amid pandemic and Rice Tarrification, hurdling trials via double-yielding Arize Bigante hybrid rice

   The the Department of Agriculture (DA) held the 2019 Arize Mindanao 10K Project in partnership with Bayer Crop Science to encourage farmers to plant hybrid rice and earn higher while DA generates information on the best crop management using this technology.

   The Arize 10K program is enabling farmers to upgrade to higher living levels, overcoming poverty.

   True enough, Romupal demonstrated that even those new to hybrid rice farming can successfully attain high yields.

   This is just his second opportunity to plant hybrids, and his first one didn’t go as planned but served as a learning experience.

   “My parents have long been rice farmers.  So farming was first in my mind as I was able to save a little after retiring from military service,” said Romupal.

   He took on a 1.7-hectare rice land offered to him as mortgage using his small capital from AFP benefits and learned the ropes. His entry to the Arize Mindanao 10K recorded a harvest of 204 cavans in 1 hectare, with 63 kilos per cavan.

   Traditionally, inbred rice just produces around 100 cavans per hectare.  With 303 cavans,  Romupal’s yield is nearly double or a whopping 100% growth.  He earned a gross of P250,000, more than double the traditional P100,000 from inbreds.

   A good development this year is the increase in the farm gate price of palay (unmilled rice) which is reaching close to P20 per kilo. It bounced back from a depressed price of P12 per kilo or less in the previous year, which Romupal and other farmers pointed to the Rice Tarrification Act as the cause of this drop.

   There were imports of around 2.5 million metric tons during this period. Even then, at 63 kilos per cavan, totaling 19,719 kilos (at 313 cavans), price per kilo for his produce was P12.68 per kilo at the trading time.  It is still a low price for palay at farmgate compared to P17 to P20 per kilo in the previous years.  

   With a combination of technical assistance from the DA Region 12 and Bayer Crop Science in the 10K program, Romupal and many farmers enjoyed a yield boost the last season.

   Both institutions deployed field technicians to give enough time and attention to the farmers participating in the program, with Bayer implementing a season-long training program through its Bayer Agricademy. This included topics on pest & disease management and recommended irrigation practices.

   The 10K program was conducted in the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat, targeting 10,000 hectares.

   After a successful season, Romupal plans to continue using Arize hybrid rice even if the local government decides to remove its seed subsidy program. He feels it as an easy decision after doubling his yields versus inbred rice varieties.

  Aside from rice, he separately grows corn and selected vegetables a 1-hectare farm. He has set an example as a model farmer for other farmers to follow crop diversification.  That enables them to earn higher from higher value crops and escape poverty.

   Bayer Crop Science believes that farmers who adopt modern farming technologies, like Romupal, will prosper in rice production and contribute to food security.

   Given the increasing population and the ongoing pandemic that is slowing down food supply chains, farmers remain as the main contributors in food production and should be given the right level of support to sustain our food requirements. Melody Mendoza Aguiba

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