rice

Leyte rice is world’s 3rd best; other provinces can aspire too

Leyte-made Renucci Rice is the world’s third best. Although a last-minute entry in the World Rice Conference in Makati, November 2019, it beat 27 other varieties in appearance, texture, moisture, aroma and grain length. Only perennial winners Vietnam and Thailand, preparing two years, bested it. Renucci Rice’s win is the first for the Philippines.카지노사이트

The only mention of the Philippines in the confab was as the world’s biggest rice importer – three million tons a year – from Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Japan, America. “That made victory sweeter,” remarked Rachel Renucci-Tan, co-founder of Chen Yi Agventures. The company had begun operating full blast only four months prior. Rachel had not brought her Dalisay brand to the event. She just rushed to a nearby store to buy two kilos to display and cook.

Makati-born, Rachel’s venture into rice farming was accidental too. She managed a $1-billion real estate investment in Paris while French husband Patrick Renucci was among Europe’s biggest printers when 2013’s Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Visayas. They flew to Leyte, a strange land to them both, to help at once and long-term. Five years they dedicated to charity work. Motoring around the province, they noted that Leyte was mostly riceland and poor. Thus emerged their mission-vision to uplift farmers.

Patrick surveyed 4,000 farmers in and around the town of Alangalang (in Filipino, dedication). That enabled him to root their plight to three intertwined factors. One, farmers live in debt. “They borrow from traders, then sell and pay off debts to them, and are left with nothing in their pocket,” Patrick noted.

Business columnist Boo Chanco recounted that not even state Landbank would lend to Patrick. Why borrow such huge amount for Alangalang, the bank asked. “Because it is poor,” Patrick replied. Application rejected.

Two, farmers ignore seed quality. “They replant seeds from the previous harvest, unaware that yield will be much less.” Not only must they get certified seeds but also fertilizer and technical assistance. “Sun-drying palay on highways is wasteful. High moisture remains, grains break, stocks turn smelly.”

Three, no one wants to farm anymore. Unschooled in marketing, landowners work in offices and sell off their one- or two-hectare plots to residential developers. Their children would rather be house helpers or call center agents. Mere hired hands, tillers have no incentive to excel.바카라사이트

The Rennuci’s researched rice technology in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Japan and China. Also the Philippine Rice Research Institute in Nueva Ecija, and the international counterpart in Laguna. They acquired a rice field in Alangalang, taught farmers new methods and put up a farming technical academy. They launched the country’s most modern, fully mechanized rice facility, costing P1.7 billion.

Ten giant combines were introduced for harrowing, harvesting and threshing. Sowing is by handheld mechanical blower – zero wastage, Patrick beamed, demonstrating it to us visitors. Foliage fertilizing is by backpack spray. Upon harvest, five machines fully dry and mill the palay in ten hours. Four colossal silos, 1,500-ton capacity each, store rice at 21 degrees centigrade. That temperature eliminates pests and bugs, specially bukbok (weevil). Rice stays fresh, aromatic, flavorful.

Chen Yi Agventures lends fertilizers and other inputs to farmers. Interest: two percent a year, in palay not cash, based on farmers’ production cost of P12 per kilo or P600 per sack. Example: five kilos of palay worth P60 as interest for P3,000 worth of input loan. Yet the company buys their harvest at P16.50 per kilo, much higher than traders and the National Food Authority.

Combines are rented out at eight percent palay yield per hectare to cover fuel and maintenance. “Our trainees busted two combines ramming coconut trees while learning to operate,” Patrick shrugged. “Accustomed to tricycles, farmers at first feared the combines, called them ‘beasts’ and refused usage. Then one harvest time, on news of incoming typhoon in two days, they begged us to use the beasts for emergency harvesting and threshing. That saved hundreds of tons.”

Patrick got his feet wet in farming. Twice he contracted deadly schistosomiasis (snail fever), the second requiring immediate heart procedure in Makati in 2021 during the pandemic.

Still, Patrick is at it, focusing on technology and operations. Same with Rachel, in finance, mentoring and marketing.

Renucci Rice comes in two grades – top-of-the-line Dalisay and equally tasty and fluffy Dinorado Heirloom. I first tasted it last December, courtesy of Leyteño Ted Failon, and have been recommending it since. Readily available, competitive price, free delivery in Metro Manila, Antipolo, Cainta.

Asked how much they have increased Leyteños’ average harvest, Patrick replied in terms of quality of life. “When we first came to Alangalang it was a fourth-class municipality. Now it is second-class, with a mall, hotels and Jollibee.” Work attitude problems linger. One farmer harvested more than 200 cavans in a hectare. Patrick egged him to strive for 20 percent more the following season. But the farmer backslid to only 60 cavans. “He already made so much money, neglected planting and concentrated more on drinking tuba (coconut wine),” Patrick chuckled.

“We’re begging to be replicated all over the land; we’re only too willing to show how we do it,” Rachel enticed online.

To which Patrick reprised during our visit: “If congressmen or companies invest in full mechanization, we can be rice self-sufficient within two croppings. No need to import three million tons a year. We can even export.”온라인카지노

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