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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

What started as just a privately-funded experiment on the use of Pressurized Irrigation for Upland Rice Farming in a small portion of my farm has now become a Mindanao-wide program as institutional support started coming in.

Yesterday, representatives of US Seedworks Philippines came to visit the 460-square meter plot where we set up a rain-type pressurized irrigation system to plant a hybrid upland rice variety, TH 82, which was developed by the company in its fields in India.

In previous trials conducted in the non-irrigated areas of Central Mindanao, TH 82 was planted using the dry-seeding process relying mainly on rain and posted a record harvest of 10.2-metric tons per hectare.

Engr. Rey Cajandig said his company offered to support the project by covering the expenses involved in the development of the pilot farm.

I then asked US Seedworks to support my plan to expand the area of the pilot farms in the next planting season and help establish at least 10 more in different areas in Mindanao.

With this development, MinDA will now make this project one of its programs under the advocacy to improve productivity, reduce poverty and sustain the gains of peace in Mindanao.

The Irrigated Upland Rice Farming Program in Mindanao will now involve MinDA as the lead agency, the Phlippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Midsayap Field Office and US Seedworks Philippines.

We will be reaching out to organic or mineral fertilizer production companies to complete the team.

In the meantime, we will identify the 10 Pilot Sites preferably in the highlands of Mindanao where farmers traditionally plant upland rice varieties once a year.

The Pilot Farms will be established shortly after the harvest of the traditional upland rice between July and August and technical people will attempt to plant a second cropping for the year using Pressurized Irrigation.

The success of this experiment will have a huge impact on food sufficiency and poverty alleviation programs in the highlands of Mindanao and maybe later in the rest of the country.

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