The government should carry out more technology demonstrations which have helped uplift farmers’ livelihood as that of a top SL-8H hybrid rice farmer that earned a P1.31 million net in 2011.

This year’s Gawad Saka awardee, Ricarte Corpuz, first learned of hybrid rice as early as in 2002 through a agriculture/” title=”View all articles about Department of Agriculture here”>Department of Agriculture (DA) hybrid rice program in Laoag City.

Gawad Saka is a banner national program led by DA and is awarded by the Office of the President. Selection involves a rigorous screening by municipal, provincial, and regional government.

Since he saw for himself in his own three-hectare farm the techno-demo, he realized for a fact the potential yield that hybrid rice could bring him.

In 2011, from his three-hectare farm planted mainly to hybrid rice, he attained a record harvest of more than 34 metric tons or 685 cavans (of 50 kilos each) of palay (paddy rice) per hectare. This came from three croppings– 240 cavans for the first crop, 245 cavans for the second, and 200 cavans for the third crop.

“I have been a user of hybrid rice for nine years now. It increased my income by almost 30 percent compared to inbred rice,” Corpuz said in Filipino.

SL Agritech Corp. Chairman Henry Lim Bon Liong said SL-8H, since its release to the market in 2001, has led to the high yield of many farmers, some even reaching close to 350 cavans per hectare.

“We’re happy that a Gawad Saka awardee of the government has benefited from SL-8H seeds. Our aim is to help make the country not only self sufficient in rice but become a net rice exporter too,” said Lim.

Corpuz noted that an important advantage he gets from the use of SL-8H hybrid rice seeds is its tolerance to bacterial leaf blight.

“Damage may reach 40 percent of the harvest (using conventional rice seeds). There’s no problem with BLB if I use SL-8,” he said.

There are many government interventions that have been significant in helping raise farmers’ income based on Corpuz’s experience. DA’s intensive training on technology like hybrid rice is just one of them. It is really one of the most important success factors in farming.

A top assistance is from the Laoag City municipal government itself—the grant of two sacks of 7-14 fertilizer and two sacks of organic fertilizer.

Another help is the National Food Authority’s (NFA) procurement program which enables farmers to sell rice at higher price by P1 per kilo compared to traders’ buying price given good quality palay.

Corpuz either transmits the rice through his own truck or through commercial hauling services. Still, NFA’s price makes up for the hauling costs. Of his total harvest, 50 percent is sold through NFA.

Corpuz’s technical know-how on farming and his concern for other farmers had enabled him to become a baranggay leader as chairman. He has held this position over the last 18 years.

Success secrets

Corpuz was a nominee of Region 1 upon the recommendation of the Vision Madiladig, the rice granary of Laoag City, which recognized how he diligently tills his land.

But he also has an eye on the market, making him a seed-to-shelf farmer.

Through the help of his wife and daughter, he runs three market stalls. These are in Laoag City Public Market. He put up his own rice mill which gives an additional net income of around P90,000 yearly.

He maximizes the use of his farm land by planting other crops– corn watermelon, mungbean.

Starting early

At 15 years old, Corpuz was already a full time farmer because his family could hardly send him to school.

He was consistently participating in trainings of DA. He attended season-long Farmers Field School. One of these was the Kasaganaan ng Sakahan at Kalikasan, an integrated pest management program for environment-friendly farming.

Aside from crops, he is also engaged in livestock, hogs, poultry, and fishing. As of 2011, he had four cattle fattening animals, two sows, one boar, 42 piglets, eight goats, 55 ducks, and 55 native chicken. He has a 1,000 square meter fish pond for tilapia.

These are his earnings for 2011– a net income P484,842 for three crops from rice; a net income of P41,842, hybrid corn; P144,225, watermelon; P34,435, mungbean. His other net earnings were P162,172 from swine, cattle, goat, duck, and chicken and tilapia, P24,520.

Zero waste management

He uses manure from his piggery as organic fertilizer. He converts his rice hull from his rice mill as carbonized rice hull applied in seedbed as soil conditioner. His corn meal and broken rice are boiled and added as feeds in his piggery and duck farms. He incorporates rice hay as organic fertilizer during rice land preparation. Rice bran used is as feed in piggery and tilapia.

Corn meal and broken rice (pegpeg) from his rice mill are cooked as feed supplement in his piggery and duck-chicken production.

Aid to other farmers

Corpuz extends financial help to others farmers through provision of seeds and fertilizer at minimal interest rates and payable after harvest in kind or in cash.

“He never kept his knowledge for himself alone. He readily shared them to his fellow farmers. He organized the Madiladig MPC (multi-purpose cooperative) with 50 initial members and now has 167 active members,” according to a DA Gawad Saka biographical record.

Community work

Corpuz is president of the Ilocos Norte Grain Retailers Assn., Philippine Grains Industry, and the City Farmers Action Council, among other associations.

“It is my greater concern to provide jobs for my barrangay-mates, not minding the high labor cost. I’m assisting them in their farming technically and financially. I also lend them my farm equipment.”

At the Madiladig MPC, he sees to it that the cooperative is consistently serving the entire membership.

“If the cooperative can no longer serve them, I will help them from my personal resources. I consistently encourage my co-officials to do their duties with honesty and integrity.”

He has acquired farm and transportation equipment for his own farm and allows others to use them as farm help. Among these are an elf, L300 van, three motors, motor with side car, Kubota tractor, two units of Kuliglig, four-wheel tractor, and Yamaha power tiller.

In actual farming of rice, his best practices include the proper levelling of soil in land preparation–no high and low soil spots; right seedling rate– sufficient number of seedlings produce healthy plant; sufficient nutrients at tillering to early panicle initiation; proper nitrogen application using DA’s Palaycheck leaf color chart; and well-managed water supply to avoid excessive water or drought stress.

He communicates with DA and other government technical experts to solve any other problem in farming.

For any questions, please call Ms. Joh Dungca, 0917558-6508; for interview requests, 0916-266-6604