Maguindanao villagers benefit from rice variety that can withstand drought, flood

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao (MindaNews/15 February) – A drought- and flood-resistant rice variety developed by three agricultural institutions has helped farmers in a village here cope with the effects of the El Nino phenomenon that has hit other parts of the province.

The rice variety was developed by the Integrated Agricultural Research Center and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Philippine Rice Institute, Saudi Mangindra, IARC research coordinator said Friday.

He said farmers planted it in 175 hectares in Barangay Bugawas here cushioning the impact of the dry spell that has dried up rice fields and grasslands in the village.

“Our harvest production even tripled as compared to previous cropping while other farmers have, unfortunately, suffered,” Halid Daud, a farmer leader in Bugawas said in an interview Friday.

He said it was the first time that they enjoyed such good harvest amid a dry spell.

He said local farmers are no longer worried regardless of whether they experience drought or flood because of the new variety.

Daud said an hectare of the new rice variety yielded 65 to 70 sacks of palay per box area. Their previous harvest was only 25 to 30 sacks.

Mangindra said DAF-ARMM assisted farmers using modern technology and apps in smart phones.

“It established a doctor-patient relationship between DAF-ARMM and farmers organizations,” he said.

He said the research center is reproducing four palay varieties that could withstand both extreme dry and wet seasons.

The varieties that had worked from the 15 experimented types of seed in the area are varieties 226, 238, 158 and 302.

“DAF-ARMM aims to make farmers harvest 1,000 tons per hectare using climate change resilient varieties,” Mangindra said. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)