In efforts to continue the historical record palay harvest every year and to move closer to rice self-sufficiency, the Department of Agriculture is rolling out the High Yielding Technology Adoption (HYTA) program this year.

Under the HYTA program, higher rice production targets can be achieved by planting high yielding varieties such as hybrid rice, certified inbred seeds, and Green Super Rice (GSR), said DA Undersecretary Antonio Fleta who represented Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in the 2014 Rice Achievers Awards.

The program expects “high-yielding seeds” to be planted in more than 560,000 hectares of rice fields all over the country.

“The HYTA program will help the country attain the  1 million metric ton (MT) palay production target increment for 2015, and 0.5 million MT palay production increment for 2016,” said Usec. Fleta

“The HYTA program, to be spearheaded by the DA-National Rice Program and implemented by DA Regional Field Offices (RFOs), will be implemented in areas with good irrigation and where farmers’ organizations are ready to adopt “high-yield rice technology” like hybrid and certified seeds,” he added.

DA-RFOs are in-charge of distributing hybrid or certified seeds to farmers’ groups, along with fertilizers and soil ameliorants, under a roll-over or conditional assistance scheme.

Each region can craft their own reward system to guarantee high repayment of inputs given to farmers or increase yields resulting from the distributed seeds.

Farmer groups that achieve excellent results under the HYTA program will be rewarded with hand tractors with trailers, four-wheel drive tractors, threshers, water pumps, warehouses, combine harvesters, and dryers.

On behalf of Sec. Alcala who was abroad on an official mission, Usec. Fleta recognized the 2014 Rice Achievers Awardees for their contributions in the rice industry and ensuring sufficient supply of nutritious rice for Filipinos.

He sought the continued support and cooperation of the awardees: outstanding provinces, municipalities, cities, irrigators associations (IAs), and Small Water Impounding System Association (SWISAs) in implementing DA programs like as HYTA.

In the past three years, alongside the conduct of Rice Achievers Awards, the country’s rice industry experienced remarkable vigor and growth unprecedented in history. “This is the result of unified efforts of farmers, private sector, and government agencies working together to achieve food security in the Philippines ,” explained Usec. Fleta.

Before the year ends, the government aims to achieve rice self-sufficiency by increasing farmers’ income, preparing for global competitiveness, climate change resilience, and public sector investments for continued economic growth.

Fleta said, while the average growth rate in palay production from 2011 to 2013 is at 3.2%, target for 2015 is 5.35% and for 2016, DA is aiming to increase production by 2.10%. (Marlo Asis, DA-AFID)