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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2784

'Through organic farming': Traditional rice varieties produce better seeds than hybrids-group

Saying traditional rice varieties produce superior seeds than hybrid rice varieties, activist Jaime "Ka Jimmy" Tadeo has called for the massive cultivation of ‘organic’ rice in the country to produce more seeds for the farmers who are planning to shift from conventional farming to organic farming.

Tadeo, spokesperson of Go Organic! Philippines said seeds produced by traditional rice varieties are superior because from those seeds, propagation of more planting materials is possible compared to supposedly high-yielding and fast-growing hybrid rice varieties from which seed propagation is not possible, apart from the fact that they are highly-dependent on agrochemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.

"If every farmer will devote at least one fourth of their rice field paddies for the cultivation of traditional rice variety, they may no longer have to buy expensive hybrid rice seeds that are addicted to chemicals and water, and yet sometimes defective," he said.

Go Organic! Philippines through its affiliates, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga), are taking the lead in implementing Phase I of the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OPSF) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM). The group is now aggressively promoting organic farming.

FIELDS or Fertilizer, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure like farm-to-market roads, Education and extension work, Loans, Dryers and other post-harvest facilities, and Seeds is the DA’s main thrust to achieve the country’s rice self-sufficiency target. Referring to the incident in Nueva Ecija, wherein some farmers are experiencing problems with the hybrid rice variety that they have planted early this dry cropping season, Tadeo said farmers who chose to go organic are spared from such problem, saying that hybrid rice demands for more agrochemical inputs and will only produce the desired yield when properly irrigated. "What if the rice field are unirrigated?" he asked.

The farmers are worried that they might get low yield and income because the SL-8H, one of the recommended hybrid rice varieties in the country, has a stunted growth. It also did not produce more tillers and some are already flowering, which means they may not get sufficient grains as promised.

To address the issue, several teams composed of staff from the DA-Regional Field Unit 3, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, the Local Government Unit (LGU), and the SL Agritech Corporation, the company that produced the seed, were tasked to conduct technical evaluation of the alleged abnormal growth performance of SL-8H.

The initial advice of the said teams to farmers who planted SL-8H is to have an advance application of the Nitrogen fertilizer intended for topdressing. This will help in the improvement of the rice plants and the faster growth of the secondary tillers, thus, producing more yield.

Tadeo, who now practices organic farming in Bgy Culyanin, Plaridel, Bulacan, produces organic seeds. As a farmer-leader and organic farming trainor, Tadeo has been to several farms all over the country, where he observed the results of organic farming vis-à-vis conventional farming of both traditional and hybrid rice varieties.

"Based on my experience, organic farming produces superior quality seeds. This saves me a lot of money in buying seeds for the next cropping season," the spokesperson of Go Organic! Philippines said.

Tadeo, an organic farming advocate, said while hybrid rice varieties produce more grains, traditional rice varieties are superior in quality.

"Every grain is firmer, heavier, aromatic, and better-tasting. That is if they are organically grown," he said.

According to Tadeo, hybrid rice cannot produce seeds for purpose of replanting the following cropping season.

“That’s why you pay a lot for their technology. You will keep on buying seeds every time. But if we plant traditional rice varieties, we may no longer need to spend that much for planting materials because we can grow seeds ourselves,” he said.

According to Tadeo, because of too much agrochemical inputs, hybrid rice, when cooked, lasts for only a day or two, because they spoil easily unlike traditional rice varieties that last for four to five days.

Tadeo said this is because hybrid rice varieties are designed for fast consumption.

To feed 80 percent of the world’s population, scientists developed supposedly high-yielding and fast-growing rice varieties, but usually require a lot of fertilizers and other agrochemical inputs

Some hybrid rice has proven to be superior to inbred rice varieties in terms of yield. While the government through the GMA Rice Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been pushing for the increased use of hybrid rice, Tadeo said farmers should also consider shifting from conventional to the more sustainable organic farming, which is beneficial not only to farmers in terms of income, but consumers in terms of better health and environment, as well.

Press Relese Goorganic, Philippine.

- Asian Tribune -

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