Philippines trains Africans on growing rice
SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ—After their season-long rice production training in the Philippines, 25 African agricultural extension workers are confident that they can help double, or even triple, rice yield in their countries.
“We will be teaching our farmers the technologies and the practical experience we gained in the Philippines,” said Eunice Alloo, a native of Uganda and head of the 25-member African group.
Alloo was beaming with pride as she showed her group’s ready-to-harvest rice in demonstration areas at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) here on Tuesday.
She also shared her group’s experience working with farmers in Talugtog town in the last three months.
Alloo said in Uganda, rice farmers produce 1.5 to 2.5 metric tons (MT) per hectare. With a production area of only 95,000 ha and increasing demand, her country imports an average of 45,000 MT of rice yearly.
She said most Ugandan farmers are using the New Rice for Africa (Nerica) in favor of traditional varieties that yield lower harvests.
She said Ugandan farmers see a bigger margin of profit in producing rice than other crops like corn, banana, tea, cotton and peanut.
Increase rice yield
With the technology she learned, Alloo said she can help Ugandan farmers increase harvest to four to six times more than the usual.
Suzana Gasper Mbwambo, an agriculture teacher in Tanzania, said she is confident that with the training she received in the Philippines, she can help farmers in her country increase rice yield.
“Our farmers get low harvest in rice production. I will help them attain higher yield by imparting to them the knowledge and skills I learned in your country,” Mbwambo told the Inquirer.
The national average for rice harvest in the Philippines is 3.77 MT a hectare, which higher than the 1.6 MT average 50 years ago, Department of Agriculture and PhilRice officials said.
Some farmers, however, harvest up to 15 MT a hectare while others can harvest between 8 and 10 MT a hectare during the dry season cropping. The foreign trainees came from Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Uganda and Tanzania. The training was sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in Los Baños, Laguna, and PhilRice. The participants started their lecture-training and immersion on June 28 here and will complete it in IRRI on Oct. 16.
Lea Abaoag, PhilRice training coordinator, said the participants were given training on the “PalayCheck” and “Palayamanan” systems at PhilRice farms and lecture areas and in six rain-fed areas in Talugtog town.
PalayCheck is an integrated crop management system for rice while Palayamanan is a diversified rice-based farming system, she said.
At least 75 agronomists, researchers and agriculture technicians from 10 more African countries are scheduled to train on rice farming in the Philippines in the next two years, PhilRice officials said.
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