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M20 hybrid: Buenavista farmers’ best choice

QUEZON CITY, May 2 -- Mestiso 20 (M20), a public hybrid rice variety previously not favored in Buenavista, Quezon, is yielding good harvest for the farmers.

“[Farmers here were not so into M20]. We were only introduced to this variety as we had no choice but to accept it. M20 was the only variety left from the DA-Regional Field Office in 2018,” Alvin Ray U. Rivera, vice-mayor of Buenavista, Quezon, said.

After three cropping seasons, the “no-choice variety” proved to be the farmers’ best choice.

The 32-year-old vice-mayor said M20 was first planted in their 25-ha demonstration farm in the 2018 dry season when El Niño occurred in their town.

He recalled that with the shoe-sized cracks on their farms, the farmers expected no harvests at all. However, Buenavista farmers were amazed as the rice variety stood tall and produced many tillers and grains amidst drought.

“Most of the farmers here used to harvest 2.5-3t/ha. But with hybrid, they’re harvesting as high as 8.3t/ha,” Rivera said.

Now, Buenavista farmers always request for M20 as it showed good yield, resistance to pests and diseases, and drought tolerance. The variety also has good grain quality.

 “From 25ha demo farm in 2018 and 50ha in 2019, we had allotted 100ha in 2020. We shared the management practices with them to improve yield. They have now surpassed the 8t-yield and have harvested as high as 9.6t/ha,” Rivera said.

Rivera added that farmers prefer M20 as it is cheaper than other hybrid rice varieties and that they are willing to buy its seeds when available in their place.

As M20 seeds come from Mindanao, the municipality is engaged in hybrid rice seed production since last quarter of 2020 to ensure the variety’s accessibility. Rivera is hopeful that producing hybrid rice seeds in their municipality would be favorable.

M2O is one of the public hybrids promoted by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute as part of its Hybrid Rice Program. The program aims to develop adaptive, high-yielding hybrid rice varieties with good agro-morphological traits, acceptable grain and eating quality traits, and resistance to major pests. (LVillo / DA-PhilRice).

Source: gov.ph