Enabling innovation for Guimba farmers
In an endless expanse of gold and green along the plains of Guimba, rice farmers are working double time work on the fields. To them, the exposure to the sizzling summer heat is just a small price to pay for their long-awaited fruits of labor.
This cycle’s harvest is pivotal for the farmers: the current cycle season will reinforce the findings of the field trial conducted by farmer-members of the Cooperative Enterprise for True Economic Reform or CENTER.
In partnership with the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Central Luzon State University (CLSU), and private hybrid seeds producer, Corteva Agriscience Philippines, CENTER conducted a new hybrid varieties field trial that aims to test the viability of PHB85 variety in producing a higher rice yield.
“Mula noong Nobyembre 2021, sinimulan namin ang programa to build resilience among farmers dito sa Guimba. Isa sa objective nito ay pataasin ang productivity at profitability ng palay production sa pamamagitan ng pagsunod sa nararapat na crop management practices,” CENTER Chairman Cata Obinario Jr. said.
Guimba field trial
In past cropping seasons, Guimba farmers were able to produce seven to 8.5 tons of rice during the dry season. The field trial targeted producing at least 10 tons for the dry season and 7.5 tons for wet season per hectare.
Six trial sites and three control sites were established in different barangays in Guimba. All sites are using the PHB85 variety with uniform crop protocols.
“The six trial sites followed the same protocols. New hybrid varieties and improved protocols on fertilization were used. While traditional practices of planting, water management, pest management, and harvesting in Guimba were followed,” PEF Area Officer Alfred Escaño said.
PhilRice and CLSU documented the field trial in its first year.
The results were promising: the rice yields from the participating farms have increased from 8 to 8.5 tons per hectare in the previous year to 9 to 10 tons per hectare.
“Despite this welcome development, the production cost also increased with the yield. We will work on improving that,” Escaño added.
Field school to improve agri-practices
The Municipal Agriculture Office and CENTER, in partnership with carbon management solutions provider Ostrom Climate Solutions, PhilRice, and PEF, established a farmer’s field school in Brgy. Casongsong, Guimba to equip farmers with good agricultural practices.
Early this year, Ostrom Climate taught farmers from different people’s organizations in Nueva Ecija about alternate wet and dry systems. This aims to introduce and demonstrate a technology that can help rice farmers save water and fuel cost while reducing carbon emissions.
“Aside from the field school, we aim to build more collaborative arrangements among institutions working on the improvement of palay farmers and the palay industry,” Escaño said.