Gov. Arthur C. Yap, through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), has come up with a first-of-its-kind solution to food sustainability and secured marketing of crop production with guaranteed higher price for farmers by implementing the Advanced Rice Technology, ART 120 and ART 160, programs.

Bol-anon farmers who are registered at the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) are the recipients of the programs. 

In ART 120, the target is to reach 120 cavans or six metric tons yield per hectare for Inbred Production and for ART 160, the target yield is 160 cavans or eight metric tons per hectare for Hybrid Rice Production.

The main objectives of these programs are to plant high-yielding rice varieties, both hybrid and certified seeds, and directly purchase from the local rice farmers high-yielding crops at prevailing market price.

These programs will also prevent the negative effects of Rice Liberalization Law towards Bol-anon rice farmers; ensure food security by assisting rice farmers in securing substantial income; alleviate poverty in the province’s rice farming communities; ensure supply of rice for supplemental feeding programs in the province; prepare a buffer stock of rice for calamities and disasters; and  encourage the buying of local produce by starting such culture within the Provincial Government. 

The ART 120, which aims to support local farmers to plant high-yielding rice varieties for inbred rice production, has the component to provide certified rice seeds to non–Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCE) Seed Component Program recipients. With this program, farmers are allocated 40 kilograms of inbred rice seeds for every one hectare.

On the other hand, ART 160 has eight components, namely: provision of hybrid seeds; buy-back of palay; farmers’ field schools; cross visits and trainings; establishment of Minus One Element Technique (MOET) and Leaf Color Chart (LCC) kits; school-on-the-air programs; provision of mobile phones for use in Agri applications; and the ART 120 Awards for highest-yielding farmer recipients. 

The Palay Buy-Back component of the ART 160 program sets that 10% of the yield per hectare of produce would be bought by the Provincial Government of Bohol to be sold by the Provincial Economic Enterprise Management Unit (PEEMU). It has already procured 166,921 kilograms of rice, which has been repacked and sold by PEEMU as Sun Rice, available in 50 kg, 25 kg, 5 kg, and 2 kg.

Beneficiaries to these programs are some 5,000 farmer-cooperators who are active members of the Irrigators/Farmers Associations in Bohol duly endorsed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

At present, ART 120 has recipients in 25 municipalities, namely: Alburquerque, Antiquera, Baclayon, Calape, Loon, Maribojoc, Tubigon, Bien Unido, Buenavista, Clarin, Dagohoy, Danao, Getafe, Inabanga, Pitogo Island (Carlos P. Garcia), San Isidro, San Miguel, Trinidad, Anda, Alicia, Batuan, Loboc, Loay, Sevilla, and Valencia.

ART 160 beneficiaries come from the municipalities of Carmen, Candijay, Loboc, Pilar, Batuan, Ubay, San Miguel, Alicia, Talibon, Dagohoy and Bilar. (Chaitanya Jaya P. Dy-Balahay)