ILOILO farmers having the first compact hybrid “techno-demo” farms has led other farmers of the Western Visayas to take a second look on hybrid rice production.

A rice harvest festival was conducted on Wednesday, January 20 at Barangay Bungcal, Barotac Nuevo to show-off the production of hybrid seed varieties that were able to yield more than 170 cavans of palay per hectare.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Larry Nacionales said the demo results showed that local farmers can gain more than 200 percent of their traditional produce of only 50 to 70 cavans per hectare by using hybrid seeds in their farms.

In Iloilo, demonstration farms are conducted in Barotac Nuevo with 170 hectares, Lapayon, Leganes with 70 hectares and Pavia with 60 hectares planted to Mestizo I, Mestizo 3 and PHB 71 hybrid seed varieties.

In Western Visayas, techno-demo are also established in Tandog, Tangalan, Aklan with 100 hectares, Capoyu-an, Barbaza, Antique with 60 hectares, Dumalag, Capiz with 100 hectares, and Bago City in Negros Occidental with 100 hectares.

Nacionales said the results showed that more Ilonggo farmers are now hooked in planting the hybrid seed varieties that will increase their income, propel production and assure food sufficiency.

The agriculture department is targeting 3.2 metric tons rice production with Iloilo as the lead province and rice granary.

Nacionales said all types of hybrid seeds are suited for Western Visayas dry and wet farms. However, local farmers want 95 to 100 days short maturing varieties that hybrid seeds can give.

Nacionales also said certain areas in Panay Island are vulnerable for rice production. He said the problematic areas that have no or very nil irrigation system are in southern Antique, first and second districts of Iloilo and Guimaras.

Admitting that the provinces of Capiz and Aklan have no vulnerable areas, he said farmers in the problematic sites may plant vegetables, fruits, have pig and poultry farms, and shallow tube wells for their farms. (Lydia C. Pendon)