Yara International ”PALAY” Strategic Partnership Project Empowering Smallholder Rice Farmers in the Philippines

“Palay” means rice in Filipino, and is the main crop in the Philippines. With a total cultivated area of approximately 4.5m hectares, covering 2 crop seasons, the Philippines is the 8th top producer of rice in the world. However, it also imports 10% of its annual requirement.

As the main staple in the country, it has been the focus of government agricultural policies, such as promoting rice self-sufficiency, and improving income of farmers while maintaining affordable prices for consumers. Improving productivity, crop quality, and access to reliable markets


Until now, farmer’s practice has largely been traditional, mainly using Urea. To penetrate a new rice segment, Yara Philippines partnered with Bayer Crop Science and a Rice Miller on a project to improve farmer livelihood by: 1) increasing productivity; 2) providing access to fair and viable markets through market linkages; 3) access to new technology, knowledge and resources.


Bayer leads by linking all the stakeholders together and offers hybrid seeds and crop protection products. Yara conducts soil analysis to remove guesswork and provide accurate nutrient recommendations and crop nutrition training. Bohol Farmers Cooperative, operating as Bohol Rice Processing Complex (BRPC), agrees to pay PHP 1.50 (equivalent to USD30/mt) premium over current market price for partner farmers. Bohol’s Local Government Unit, as one of the main off takers, distributes milled rice to local residents. The partner farmers are organized as Palay Group, chaired by a representative farmer.


Successful first season

The pilot was launched in July 2017, with 34 farmers covering 57 hectares.


“It started from a conversation over a meal, when we asked why the yields in Bohol were so low compared to other regions, and what could be done. The companies came up with this idea, and since then, I have used the full Yara and Bayer program and increased my yield by 44% in the first season.” Said Alvin Mante – President of the Palay Group.


With a successful first cropping season, a Harvest Fair was held and attended by 300 farmers, together with the stakeholders. With the combined support of strategic partners, harvest results showed an average of 53% and 85% improvement in yield and profitability, respectively.


Twenty farmers with highest yield improvements were recognized and awarded. The best farmer, Henry Cambangai, achieved a staggering 3 fold increase in yield, from 1.8mt/ha to 6.2mt/ha. Improvements were attributed to the use of hybrid seeds and complete crop nutrition, compared to using an inbred seed variety and under fertilization.


Nicholas Gan, Country Manager highlighted the importance of collaboration to address the smallholder rice farmer’s needs, and accelerates and enhance the delivery of knowledge.


“You (the farmers) play an important role in food security. It is because of farmers that we have meals on the table. Farming takes a lot of passion, given the challenges with weather, water, pests and diseases, making it all the more important that it is done right. and that it is profitable. We are pleased to be able to work with you, and that through this partnership we are able to share our combined solutions and knowledge in order to achieve such results.”