KEEPING true to its commitment to help in the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi, SL Agritech, the major hybrid rice producer in the country, celebrated the first harvest festival in the 50-hectare technology demonstration farm planted with SL hybrid rice seeds.
The milestone was also witnessed by Go Negosyo and the local government unit of Lanao del Sur together with the Maranao farmers.
The intervention was part of the rehabilitation efforts for the war-stricken Marawi city and agri-business development of the entire province.
SL Agritech said in a press statement it provided the technology and financing for the 50-hectare demo with total value amounting to P1.5 million. Technical assistance was also provided during the entire cropping season.
Classes and farmers’ meeting were conducted to educate the farmers on the proper crop management practices of SL hybrid rice seeds.
Lanao del Sur, which covers Marawi was identified by the Philippine Statistics Authority as the top province with highest poverty incidence per family.
The province’s average rice yield was only 3.73 metric tons per hectare predominantly using inbred rice varieties, which was proven to be insufficient to feed the entire province with more than one million population.
The 50-hectare demo farm will help the farmers of Lanao to adapt to a new technology which will help them double their production and ultimately improve their way of living.
“We want to bring the message to the people of Marawi that there’s hope. SL Agritech will put in the money for this techno-demo to inspire hope,” said SL Agritech Corp. chairman Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong during the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.
“Our technicians are all over Mindanao. Their marching order is to help the farmers of Mindanao to be a catalyst of change through the use of modern farming technology that will bring progress and economic growth in the rural community,” he added.
Two weeks after the festival, the farmers started to reap the fruits of their labor and the results were beyond their expectations.
One of the remarkable recorded yields was 7.63 metric tons, almost double their previous yield. Land owner Alanoding Seba, said he was extremely impressed with the performance of the SL varieties and promised to continue planting the same seed even after the pilot project.
“This increments will really help us a lot. We can now pay for our debts and save some for the next cropping season,” he said.
Haris Ditucalan was also one of the farmer-beneficiaries of the project.
He’s been wanting to own a motorcycle for his family for a very long time public transportation in their area is quite challenging.
He revealed that most of the time, his produce were just enough for home consumption with nothing more left to sell.
There were times that he need to purchase commercial rice because his harvest will no longer suffice. That is why he was very delighted to be part of this project.
He had no deeper knowledge on hybrid rice technology, however his broad experience in rice farming and the determination to improve his rice production made it easier for him to understand the protocol on planting hybrid rice.
With the help of the SL technician, he was able to produce a staggering 6.2 mt on his 1.25 hectare land.
He used to harvest an average of 2.8 mt on a 1.75 hectare land using inbred seeds.
A week after harvesting his produce, Haris came home in a brand new motorcycle for his family.