RiceStrawPH pushes toward development of rice straw management practices, technologies

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) participated in the Inception Planning and Meeting Workshop held last June 26-27 at the IRRI headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna to optimize implementation of RiceStrawPH.

RiceStrawPH or the “Sustainable Rice Straw Management for Food, Bioenergy, and Feed in the Philippines” have three components aimed at the “development of sustainable rice straw technologies and practices on the productions of animal feed, mushroom and bioenergy.” Apart from rendering benefit to rice farmers, the use of rice straw will lessen pollution and production of greenhouse gas as it was deemed that about 60-80% of rice straw are burned in open field.

Under RiceStrawPH, the PCC component project is the “Development of Sustainable Rice Straw Management Practices and Technologies for Ruminant Fodder in the Philippines”While the Philippines produces millions of tons of rice that render large volumes of straws every year, there have been limited rice straw-based technologies. Also, the adoption of rice straw as animal feed is still low in many parts of the country and rice straw is not pervasively available in the market.

Spearheaded by PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio and PCC at Central Luzon State University Center Director Dr. Daniel L. Aquino, the project primarily focuses on “developing and improving technologies for rice straw-based ruminant production through improved quality, value and markets of rice straw.“ The collaborating agencies include the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), IRRI and PhilRice.

According to Dr. del Barrio, the project will make use of Urea-Molasses treated Rice Straw (UMTRS) to improve rice straw quality for animal feed specifically for carabao, cattle, and goat. Rice straw will be included in the everyday menu of the said animals alongside other feed ingredients in order to determine effect on growth and milk production.  Moreover, prospective supply, demand and market of rice straw will be determined.  The six project sites include the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, Bukidnon and North Cotabato.

Representatives from BAI, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development,  Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, Bureau of Plant Industry and other collaborators were also present in the Inception Planning and Meeting Workshop. In relation to the workshop, a training on handling rice straw baler machine was held on June 28-29.

The implementation of RiceStrawPH started in April 2018 and will end in 2020. The funding agency is the Bureau of Agricultural Research.