RiceBIS: A strategy to enhance adoption of updated rice tech

Still reeling from typhoons and drought that hit the country, smallhold rice farmers face a new hurdle. The nationwide preventive lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 restricted the movement of food and goods. Thus, bringing food from the farm to tables have become more challenging. Rice farmers’ lives and means of living are at risk thereby threatening food security and sustainability.

 

This major problem requires an innovative solution through relevant research for development (R4D) interventions. As the lead rice R4D institution, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) initiated the RiceBIS project to improve the competitiveness of rice and rice-based farming communities in select provinces in the country.

 

About the project

 

Funded by DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, the RiceBIS Phase II involves 15 RiceBIS communities with ten clusters of farmer organizations each to cover 400 farmer-beneficiaries per site. This includes twelve major rice-producing provinces: Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Quirino, Tarlac, Zambales, Quezon, Masbate, Aklan, Negros Oriental, Cotabato, and Agusan del Norte.

 

Anchored on the clustering approach, the RiceBIS Community Program aimed to address low productivity and income among local farmers through a modern approach in line with DA’s twin goals.

 

To promote rice farming modernization and rice-based enterprises improvement through the distribution of matured technologies, RiceBIS project merges production and marketing strategies to transform farming communities to become market-driven and participatory through the promotion of livelihood programs and climate-smart farm technologies.

 

The technologies under the RiceBIS project include yield-enhancing and cost-reducing technologies anchored on the PalayCheck system, Palayamanan, and clustering approach. Through which series of training, promotion, and demonstration are conducted through Farmers’ Field School (FFS) including organizational development and agripreneurship.

 

RiceBIS technologies

 

The clustering approach primarily aims to facilitate community collective action such as synchronous crop establishment and harvesting using farm machines, mobilization of farmer leaders, and group marketing. This approach will serve as a strategy to enhance the adoption of yield-enhancing and cost-reducing technologies.

 

To improve resiliency and achieve sustainable agro-enterprise, the RiceBIS program conducted clustering activities this year across all selected project sites in the country.

 

PalayCheck for production technologies contributed significantly in the increase of production and profitability of rice farming in the country. It has been proven to help farmers achieve high yield through proper rice crop and technology management as long as key check recommendations (e.g. high-quality seeds, proper water, nutrient, and pest management practices, land preparation, among others) are ensured. Such developed practices opened opportunities, improved the livelihood, and increased the income of smallholder rice farmers.

 

Meanwhile, farm diversification and integration are being promoted especially in rainfed areas through the Palayamanan technology platform. Cropping patterns, ecosystems, and resources play a big role in the implementation of this technology. It solved concerns on monocropping by having other sources of livelihood such as planting vegetables and fruits while raising livestock and fishpond for continuous food supply, increased farm productivity, and improved ecological balance or diversity. Hence, achieving food security and economic stability.

 

As of writing, the PalayCheck for production technologies is further being disseminated to RiceBIS farmers through various FFS and establishment of technology-demonstration sites. These rice technologies, which the farmers can adopt in their community, will be showcased in learning fields.

 

RiceBIS and other initiatives

 

Different project implementers conducted various initiatives in selected RiceBIS sites in the country. Other activities held through the said project included project briefing, focus group discussion, site validation through aerial mapping and geotagging, cooperative inspection, and establishment of more techno-demo sites. Further, a ceremonial seed distribution of bags of certified seeds from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program for the farmer-beneficiaries was also launched.

 

Turning the pandemic into an opportunity to identify and address vulnerabilities in the country’s food systems while improving the competitiveness of farming communities to a sustainable agro-enterprise, DA-PhilRice through the technologies under the RiceBIS Community Program aims to make rice farmers resilient and bring transformation to society in line with the New Normal for a much better post-pandemic scenario.

 

Further, PhilRice further added that its plans for the second semester include the conduct of postharvest losses data gathering, establishment of technology demonstration sites and RiceBIS communities, and partnership-building with rice stakeholders. ### Jireh Alodia R. Laxamana

 

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For more information:

Dr. Aurora M. Corales

Chief Science Research Specialist

DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute

(044) 456 0277 local 511

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Jayca Y. Siddayao

Senior Science Research Specialist

DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute

(044) 456 0277

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.