THE government’s approach of offering hybrid rice seed for raising productivity is unsustainable because farmers abandon hybrid once subsidies are withdrawn, a farm organization said.
“They should look into why hybrid seed usage has not expanded significantly despite the seed subsidies being given by the DA and why farmers revert to inbred seed when the subsidies are removed,” Federation of Free Farmers National President Raul Q. Montemayor said in a Viber message.
On Tuesday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. announced the use of hybrid seed to increase production on the recommendation of hybrid seed supplier SL Agritech Corp.
Mr. Marcos also promised to support farmers with subsidies and loans.
According to Mr. Montemayor, hybrid seed varieties outperform inbred seed at yields of six tons per hectare compared to four tons per hectare respectively.
He said cost of production per hectare is higher for hybrid but cost per kilogram of rice output is usually lower because of the high yield.
Hybrid seed costs nearly 10 times the cost of inbred, so “distributing hybrid seed is not enough.”
He added that hybrid seed is not suitable for all areas and work best in the dry season, requiring more fertilizer, adequate irrigation, and proper application of technology.
Mr. Montemayor said that not all farmers can afford or are willing to risk spending more money on hybrid as these cannot be replanted, unlike inbred seed.
“Government should also develop publicly available hybrid varieties so that the farmers have a choice and are not dependent on only one or two private seed companies,” he said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera