Private company eyes doubling rice yield per hectare in Leyte

October 23, 2017

TACLOBAN CITY—A private rice-business corporation is introducing a “rice-revolution” in the province of Leyte with the aim doubling the rice production per hectare of land.

Chen Yi Agventures (CYA) claimed that, if farmers will change the farming practices they have used for decades and use full mechanization, they would be able to harvest between 7 metric tons (MT) and 10 MT per hectare.

“This is a revolution because we want to change the way people are farming. It involves changing the mind-set and ways people are farming. We have to start all over again,” said French industrialist Patrick Renucci, founder of CYA, during the Rice Revolution Summit organized by the business sector as part of the series of the activities to commemorate the 73rd Leyte Landing Anniversary.

Local farmers are producing an average of four MT of palay per hectare, way below the desired production volume, due to wastage during the entire process from harvesting to milling.

Palay is a vital product of Leyte and the whole of Eastern Visayas, said Oliver Cam, a business-sector representative to the Regional Development Council in Eastern Visayas.

Cam said before Supertyphoon Yolanda hit the province, rice was second to coconut in terms of land area with 133,000 hectares planted with rice, compared to 168,000 hectares devoted to coconut.

He said that, from this vast tract of land, 40 percent of agriculture production comes from coconut while rice contributed 30 percent.

After Yolanda, production volume of coconut went down from 670,000 MT to less than 200,000 MT, while rice maintained a consistent production of above 500,000 MT.

Leyte is the second-biggest rice-producing province in the Visayas next to Iloilo and ninth in the country.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that, in 2014, rice production in Leyte reached 502,146 MT or 2.65 percent of total rice production in the country. This came from an area of 128,993 hectares planted to rice with only 81,720 hectares irrigated.

Rice farmers who partnered with CYA entered into the Renucci Partnership Program that gave them access to mechanization in planting and harvesting. The partnership also offered a production loan of up to P38,600 in kind per hectare at 2-percent interest rate and zero interest on the cost of seeds.

“CYA will help farmers boost their current yield to achieve a minimum of 7 MT per hectare while significantly reducing interest rates on loans,” said Rachel Renucci-Tan, president of CYA.

“Farmers can produce high-quality palay and sell 100 percent of their harvest at the prevailing market price to CYA—a guaranteed and long-term buyer,” she said.

The partnership also offers farmers “optimal planting techniques” where farmer members are trained to increase their yield to at least 7 MT and up to 10 MT per hectare.

Renucci-Tan said this will increase farmers’ income up to 10 times, “uplifting all farmer members and their families from poverty, as well as breaking farmers free from the vicious cycle of debt.”

“Farmers are guaranteed good income and the ability to improve their quality of life,” she said.

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