Agriculture - - New Tune - BY ZAC B. SARIAN

“PLANT­ING RICE is never fun…Bend­ing over till the set of sun”. That’s the open­ing lyric of the old plant­ing rice song. To­day, it is a dif­fer­ent tune al­to­gether, ac­cord­ing to pro­gres­sive small­holder farm­ers we in­ter­viewed dur­ing the “Piyestang Syn­genta,” an event in Ca­banat­uan City at­tended by more than 150 men and women farm­ers on July 11, 2018. The new tune could as well be “Plant­ing rice is now more fun and more prof­itable too, with the new tech­nolo­gies.”

Rus­tico Guans­ing, 60, of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija confesses that to­day he does not have to per­form back-break­ing chores to pro­duce high yield of rice on his 2.5 hectares of ir­ri­gated land. He owns a hand­trac­tor and he just pays R800 to two hired op­er­a­tors to pre­pare one hectare for plant­ing in one day.

Even in plant­ing the seedlings, he does not have to bend till the set of sun. That is be­cause he is a mem­ber of a co­op­er­a­tive that re­ceived a rice trans­planter from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture. He just pays R1,000 for plant­ing one hectare with the ma­chine. If he had to hire work­ers to plant the seedlings, he would have to spend R5,000 to plant one hectare.

Dur­ing the last dry sea­son, Guans­ing was able to har­vest 19,604 ki­los from his 2.5 hectares planted to hy­brid rice. He was able to sell his har­vest at R21 per kilo, so he was able to gross R411,684 from the 2.5 hectares. And how much did he spend to pro­duce the 19.6 tons? The av­er­age to­tal cost is R40,000 to R50,000 per hectare. So there is re­ally a very good profit from grow­ing hy­brid rice us­ing mod­ern in­puts like Ar­mure, a fungi­cide from Syn­genta that does not only pro­vide pro­tec­tion to the rice plants from fun­gal in­fec­tion. It also pro­vides much more ben­e­fits, ac­cord­ing to Guans­ing. The plants de­velop ex­ten­sive roots so they are bet­ter an­chored in the field. It also in­duces heavy tiller­ing which re­sults in more pan­i­cles. And the pan­i­cles are fully filled so the har­vest is heav­ier. Plants treated with Ar­mure, he said, are very ro­bust and hardy.

Dur­ing the rainy sea­son, Guans­ing plants NSIC 222, an in­bred va­ri­ety which is also high-yield­ing and the cost of seeds is much lower – just about R1,200 per hectare com­pared to the R4,800 to R5,000 per hectare in the case of hy­brid va­ri­eties. His in­bred va­ri­ety yielded 180 ca­vans per hectare dur­ing the last rainy sea­son.

Har­vest­ing his rice crop is also no has­sle for Guans­ing. He hires the ser­vices of a pri­vate op­er­a­tor who har­vests the crops of other farm­ers. He just pays the har­vester 10 ca­vans for ev­ery 100 ca­vans har­vested.

Two other farm­ers con­firmed that rice farm­ing is no longer a back-break­ing ac­tiv­ity if you use the im­proved farm­ing tech­nolo­gies. That was when we in­ter­viewed them at the Piyestang Syn­genta. One fel­low is Mon­tano Ramos of Brgy. Mal­lorca, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. From his 2.7 hectares that he planted to hy­brid rice last sum­mer, he was able to

har­vest 29,532 ki­los that he sold for more than R500,000. He said he spent only about R100,000 to pro­duce the 29 tons.

Pas­tor Ni­eto, also of San Leonardo, has the same ex­pe­ri­ence. Last dry sea­son, he pro­duced 27,900 ki­los from his three-hectare farm. His to­tal cost of pro­duc­tion was R55,000 per hectare or R165,000 for the three hectares. It was also a very prof­itable crop for him. Like Guans­ing and Ni­eto, he said that Ar­mure is re­ally one in­put that in­creases rice har­vests.

Ni­eto used to be a taxi driver in Manila for more than ten years be­fore he went back to his na­tive San Leonardo to do his brand of farm­ing. That was af­ter get­ting mar­ried.

By the way, Syn­genta has three out­stand­ing rice hy­brids that are mak­ing rice farm­ers rich. These are NK 5017, S6003 and RH9000. They have po­ten­tial yields of more than 10 tons per hectare.

Now you see, rice farm­ing can be more fun and prof­itable with the right tech­nolo­gies.

This hy­brid S6003 has a po­ten­tial yield of more than 10 tons per hectare.

Ja­son Vil­le­gas, mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive of Syn­genta, briefs Tina Law­ton, Syn­genta’s re­gional director for Asia Pa­cific, on the mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties of the com­pany.

Jet Parma, Syn­genta Philip­pines pres­i­dent, and Jonathan Parr, Global Crop Pro­tec­tion head, at the Piyestang Syn­genta.

More than 150 men and women farm­ers at­tended Piyestang Syn­genta.

Mon­tano Ramos and Pas­tor Ni­eto, both from San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija.

Rus­tico Guans­ing and Zac B. Sarian.

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