Teaching farmers in Negros Occidental about hybrid rice production goes ‘on air' through a radio program to help increase rice production in the province.
A total of 286 farmers from around the province graduated from the four-month ‘School on Air' program of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and the Department of Agriculture yesterday at the Bacolod Pavillon Hotel, Bacolod City.
Provincial Agriculturist JaphetMasculino said yesterday that farmers who graduated from the program will be closely monitored if they go hybrid rice and will be given hybrid rice seeds for free, depending on their rice area.
The School on Air program taught farmers practices and new technologies on hybrid rice production through a weekly AM radio program of DYHB. Farmers who enrolled through their municipal and city agriculturists took an examination at the end of the course.
Stocks of about a thousand bags of 15-kilo rice seeds are also ready to be distributed to the farmers and more will come from the DA regional office in Iloilo, he said.
Masculino said it is important to encourage more farmers to utilize hybrid rice varieties in their farms as these have 30 percent higher yield than certified seeds.
He said the number of hybrid rice producers in the province is only between 3,000 and 4,000 farmers. The record is fluctuating as some are discouraged due to bad experience in utilizing it, he added.
“They are discouraged as they lack education. With this program, we want to make sure that farmers are encouraged to implement it through our mentoring and monitoring,” Masculino said.
Masculino also reported that of the close to 300 graduates, almost 90 percent have already said they will go to hybrid rice cropping, in the first cropping season of the year in May.
DA-Western Visayas will fund the program that will run for another 12 months starting February, to cover two cropping seasons. The agency has allocated P240,000 for the airtime of the program.
During the graduation, P315,000 worth of farm equipment was also given to the 17 farmers who topped the examinations of the School on Air program.
Masculino encouraged all farmers to enroll in the program as it is for free and they can learn good practices and technologies related to hybrid rice farming. *MLG
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