Monday, August 31, 2009

Filipinos Benefitting from Modern Food Production

Isabela farmers shift to hybrids for bigger yields
By Max Ballesteros (The Philippine Star)
Updated August 30, 2009 12:00 AM

ROXAS, Isabela , Philippines — Well aware of “success stories” in rice production in some parts of the country, more and more farmers here in the province are finally turning to hybrid rice varieties to get better yields.

Roxas Mayor Harry Soller, who is pushing for the adoption of scientific methods in food production, said some farmers in his hometown had tried the Mestizo 1 (M1) hybrid variety two years ago and liked the results. The shift is thus seen as an effort on their part to help achieve and sustain rice self-sufficiency in the province.

Production shortfalls have resulted in yearly rice importation to beef up supply of the staple cereal especially during the lean months. Only recently, the National Food Authority has signed contracts for the delivery of additional 75,000 metric tons costing about P2 billion — money which could otherwise be used to help modernize Philipiine agriculture and improve lives of many Filipinos.

Soller said traditional farmers in the area have begun embracing modern approaches in their rice farming operations and are now devoting more areas for hybrid rice production.

Sophelina Flores, local LGU coordinator under the ‘One Town - One Product” program, said since farmers have turned to hybrid, their harvests have reached 210 or more cavans per hectare which, about three times as much as that of ordinary rice varieties. Read More

I think it’s always interesting to listen to the view point of hungry nations on the debate over modern ag production. Almost always, they are looking for new technologies that they can implement because they do not want to be dependent on other countries for their food supply. Yet in this country, where the grocery shelves have been full for several generations, there are some that want to eliminate technology from food production, even if it means eliminating family farms and ranches along the way. The only way our country can continue to be a sovereign nation is to be able to feed ourselves. It’s the most basic of needs but it has been taken for granted.

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