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Hybrid rice can't be an option of looming rice
Shubhranshu Choudhary | 28 Mar 2008

MANILA, Philippines - The promotion of hybrid rice production as a
solution to an impending rice crisis may not address the roots of the
looming rice shortage, a non-government organization warned Monday.

In a radio interview, Jerry Pacturan - Philippine Development Assistance
Program (PDAP) executive director - said rice farmers need financing
assistance, saying promoting hybrid rice production may even worsen their
financial position.

He noted that hybrid rice may be too expensive for small farmers, especially
in the provinces.

"*Sa tingin ko sa punto de vista ng administration, gusto nila ng technology
na quick fix sa food security. Minsan sa hybrid rice kung pagkain kumpletos
rekados ang suporta ng gobyerno *(I think the government just wants a quick
fix to the problem of food security, that's why it is putting all its
marbles on hybrid rice)," Jerry Pacturan, the group's executive director,
said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas.

"*Kailangan talaga ng financing. Sa Visayas and Mindanao, umaabot sa P30,000
per hectare ang gagastusin ng maliit na magsasaka sa isang hectare ng hybrid
rice* (Farmers in Visayas and Mindanao may no be able to handle the
financing requirements. In the Visayas and Mindanao, small farmers will have
to shell out P30,000 per hectare of hybrid rice)," he said.

Government is now heavily promoting the planting of hybrid rice to head off
a possible rice crisis brought about by high world prices of rice.

Agriculture officials have adopted a two-pronged strategy involving higher
rice production and rice conservation by the public.

In the interview, Pacturan said the government appeared to have forgotten
about its stand on organic agriculture, as he urged government to offer
incentives to farmers for organic farming instead of pushing hybrid rice
production.