IN an effort to further empower local rice farmers in the countryside, SeedWorks Philippines has started forging partnerships with rice traders and millers to help farmers sell their palay (unmilled rice) to millers at higher than market average prices.
The agricultural research firm said it is in the initial stage of a program to link its partner-rice farmers with different millers that are willing to buy US 88 palay at P1 higher compared to the average local price. This initiative also paves the way for the distribution of milled US 88 rice in standard 25-kilogram sacks to retailers, which in turn sell the commodity to end consumers.
“SeedWorks is linking farmers who seek higher price for their US 88 harvests with millers that prefer premium-quality rice,” said Raj Nuñez, brand manager of SeedWorks Philippines.
“Most millers find it a win-win deal because US 88 palay mills into long-grain rice, which is also perfectly soft when cooked — ideal for the meticulous rice consumers,” he added.
The company also provides specially designed milled rice sacks to millers and traders. The commodity is branded as US 88 Premium Quality Rice (classified as hybrid Dinorado), which is fast gaining popularity in the market because of its highly appreciated qualities.
SeedWorks said this program is aimed at further helping uplift the lives of local rice farmers.
US 88 has been proven to significantly increase yield up to about 15 metric tons per hectare (in optimal conditions) from the national average of just 4.08 metric tons, SeedWorks said, citing December 2020 data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“We are supporting the country’s goal of self-sufficiency with high-yielding varieties that we have. At the same time, our company supports and empowers our farmers by helping them sell their harvests at a much better price,” said Carlos Saplala, president of SeedWorks Philippines.
This strategic program is rolling out in Mindanao, Central Luzon and the Bicol Region. SeedWorks Philippines will soon bring the initiative to other regions.
SeedWorks noted that most retailers who have started selling US 88 milled rice are raving about the good reception of their customers to the rice variety. “Aside from its long grain and soft quality when cooked, an ideal feedback I get is that the cooked rice doesn’t easily spoil, which helps prevent food wastage that we all don’t want to happen in these times of crisis,” said Josiena Palacios, a rice retailer who is among the first ones to resell US 88 rice in Aglayan Public Market in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Another retailer, the owner of Harveys Store in Vintar, Valencia City still in Bukidnon said, “US 88 is not hard to sell because of its impressive quality.”
US 88 is one of the flagship hybrid rice varieties of SeedWorks Philippines. It is an ideal rice variety for the country’s prevailing climate and proven tolerant against typical crop diseases that affect rice plants.