Hybrid Rice Producers unite for rice self-sufficiency

Created on Monday, 25 March 2013

The Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and private rice companies will hold the first ever National Hybrid Rice Congress on April 3-5, 2013 at PhilRice, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

The activity, themed “Bigas na Sapat, Binhing Hybrid ang Kabalikat,” will highlight the importance of the hybrid rice industry in the attainment of the vision of the government’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program or FSSP.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has been leading the implementation of FSSP as one of the Aquino administration's strategy to ensure self-sufficiency in rice and other foodstuff by popularizing other carbohydrates sources like saba, sweet potatoes, and white corn.

In a press briefing, PhilRice Deputy Executive Director Dr. Eduardo Jimmy Quilang noted that the use of hybrid rice will be expanded under the FSSP to boost farmers’ yield. Based on studies, hybrid seeds increase yield by 21% compared to certified seeds.

“Harvest can increase by 15% or more with hybrid rice. If the weather is good and the farmer is diligent, harvesting 12 tons per hectare is attainable. The usual harvest when farmers use the inbred variety is 4 tons per hectare,” said Dr. Quilang.

As such, income will go up by P 15,000 to P 20,000 with hybrid rice. Based on initial estimates, if hybrid rice is planted in 400,000 hectares of rice field with irrigation, a total of 400,000 tons rice harvest will automatically be added to the country’s national production.

The First National Hybrid Rice Congress aims to develop policies and recommendations to popularize the use of hybrid rice and forge a stronger network with private seed companies.

“Even if hybrid rice improves the farmers’ harvest and income, and it has a huge potential in helping the country achieve rice self-sufficiency, it remains unpopular because very few plant this variety,” said Dr. Quilang.

“We are looking forward to the creation of the Philippine Hybrid Rice Industry Development Board and the identification of the target areas where hybrid rice will be planted,” he added.

For the upcoming Congress, PhilRice will partner with the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology and private companies such as Bayer CropScience, Bioseed Research Philippines, DeVGen, DuPont Pioneer Philippines, SeedWorks Philippines, SL Agritech Corporation, and Syngenta, to deliver to farmers and seed growers new technologies and trends in the hybrid rice industry.

2001 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Professor Yuan Longping--the father of Hybrid Rice and a national treasure of China--will speak at the congress.

Dr. Quilang is positive that the Congress will open doors which will result to the attainment of the President's vision during his first State of the Nation Address, ''Ang isasaing ni Juan dela Cruz dito ipupunla, dito aanihin, dito bibilhin.’' (PhilRice/AFIS)