Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bringing climate-resilient technologies to rice farmers in the northern Philippines

LAOAG, northern Philippines—The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are collaborating to introduce new rice varieties and technologies to help local rice farmers cope with climate change.

The collaborative program, known as Tikag (drought), provides smallholder farmers access to climate-resilient rice varieties and technologies under the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environment (CURE) and the locally fabricated mechanized dry direct seed driller developed by the MP Seeder Project (see photo).

“Hopefully, these new technologies could reduce the risks in rice production in northern Luzon and help farmers suffering from unpredictable drought and typhoons every year,” said Dr. Yoichiro Kato, a rainfed lowland agronomist at IRRI and lead of the MP Seeder Project.

Tikag is a collaborative project of local government units in Ilocos Norte, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Dingras. CURE is funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development while the MP Seeder Project is funded by the DA.

Farmers’ Field Days held, respectively, in Currimao and Burgos on 7 and 8 December attracted more than 200 farmer leaders and local extension staff from 20 municipalities of Ilocos Norte. The participating farmers showed their willingness to adopt both the MP seed driller and the drought-tolerant varieties, particularly Sahod Ulan 12 which can be harvested from 93 to 99 days after planting.

The MP Seeder will significantly reduce the time and cost of establishing their rice crop, and the short duration and drought-tolerant will enable us to harvest more than before, according to  Mr.Candido Velasco and Mrs. Teresita Menor, participating farmers from Currimao.

Provincial Governor Imee Marcos, in her message to the field day participants, expressed her gratitude to IRRI’s continuous support. She encouraged the farmers to use new the drought-tolerant rice varieties and the mechanized dry direct seeding for the coming 2017 wet season. Rodolfo Garcia, mayor of Burgos, and Gladys Go-Cue, vice mayor of Currimao, attended the respective field days.

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