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More land for planting hybrid rice will speed up rice self-sufficiency — DA official

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to reach 100% rice self-sufficiency rate through the increase of allotted land for planting hybrid rice.

Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations Ariel T. Cayanan on Tuesday, March 7, said that as the rice self-sufficiency rate reaches 96%, the country would have to wean off its dependence on importation very soon.

“Secretary Piñol said that the truth is we cannot depend on other countries. We do not know if they are hit by calamities. If that happens, they will prioritize their own needs rather than importing to us,” he added.

While the Philippine government is set to sign an agreement to outsource its rice planting to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Cayanan said what is more crucial is the improved irrigation and use of technology in agriculture.

“Hybrid rice is no less than 10% of the 4 million hectares (of agricultural lands in the Philippines). If we can increase it to 30% basing from SL (Agritech) and experts, we can be overly self sufficient,” he added.

“Without the program the country risks the problem of rice shortage.”

On Tuesday, SL Agritech corp. held its first SL-8H Super Hybrid Rice grand harvest festival in the municipality of San Pedro Palcarangan, Lubao, Pampanga.

The SL-8H rice, planted on 250 hectares in the municipality, is under the the rice hybridization program of the DA.

SL Agritech is aiming to cover 1 million hectares nationwide for hybrid rice. — Anna Gabriel A. Mogato