Danilo Calamba, 2015’s Regional Outstanding Rice Farmer, reveals four ways to increase farm production.

By Anna Delza S. Barimbao

Born to a farming family in Bilar, Bohol, Danilo Calamba’s lifelong experience with farming includes a one-year stint of agricultural training in Japan. “Hard work is not enough; it has to be combined with the use of technology that will boost production,” he says. He also believes that what he practices now is a proven formula to success.

Use of Hybrid Varieties

Calamba is convinced that using hybrid rice varieties is a smart choice for increasing rice production. He says that with the use of hybrid rice technology alone, he already has the edge with a 25% increased yield, compared to other farmers who use the inbred variety. That’s the reason why, during the 2013 wet cropping season, his total production per hectare reached around 5,100 kilograms (kg), which earned him a net income of around Php120,000 per hectare (ha).

He added that even during the dry season, the performance of hybrid rice is quite good; his per hectare production of around 4,100 kg translated to an income of around Php81,000. Based on
his previous experience, he could only earn around Php60,000 per hectare if he used the inbred variety of rice. Calamba says he was convinced to use hybrid varieties by the local technician from the municipal agriculture office (MAO). As president of the San Isidro Labrador Farmers’ Association,

Calamba aggressively advocates the use of hybrid seeds with other farmers in the locality. Other strategies for success Another way, according to Calamba, to increase farm production and income is to multi-crop or grow more than one crop in a cropping season. The practice was recommended to him by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 7 (DA-RFO 7) as it provided opportunities for more income.

Calamba’s farm is planted to banana, root crops (gabi), mango, and coconuts. His 500 mango trees alone can easily generate a modest income of between Php20,000 to Php30,000 per tree per year. His 10-hectare farm is surrounded by 500 coconut trees, which provide him with an annual income of about Php200,000. Other minor crops on his farm bring in an annual income
of around Php50,000.

He also uses the integrated farming system. The beauty of integrating crop and livestock production is that it works in a coordinated framework, leaving no unused waste on the farm. Calamba’s 40-head piggery and 18-head cattle production produce wastes that are decomposed as fertilizers for his crops. Crop residues are fed to his livestock and supplement the nutritional needs of the animals. In addition to these benefits, the system adds more to his
income. In 2013, Danilo earned Php320,000 from his cattle and swine production.

The increase in production can be attributed to organic fertilizer supplementation, according to Calamba. When he attended the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) in Japan, he was taught how to recycle farm wastes by decomposting rice straw and hulls, which abound on his farm. For his rice production, he said he combines organic with commercial fertilizers to get the desired results. Based on his experience, combining fertilizers has a neutralizing effect on the soil and is perfect for soil conditioning.

Calamba says following simple farm techniques made him a successful rice farmer; he now owns three tractors and two rice threshers, helps the local government generate jobs by hiring 40
workers on his farm, and owns a rice and corn mill. His farm is now a showcase of success which started with a childhood dream.

His success has reached its zenith as he has been recognized as this year’s DA Outstanding Regional Gawad Saka Rice Farmer.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s January 2015 issue.