PhilRice sees sustained rice production
by Marjorie M. Arriola - Tuesday, 8 November 2011, 11:10 AM
Balita- November 7, 2011 10:37 pm

MANILA, Nov. 7 – The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is optimistic the country will be more able to produce rice despite onslaught of increasingly violent weather disturbances that experts link to climate change.

"I can see that in the future, flooding and typhoons will have lesser impact on farmers if we're able to introduce new rice varieties," said PhilRice Executive Director Dr. Eufemio Rasco Jr.
He said newly developed varieties must be subjected to two-year tests before these are commercially introduced.

New varieties' performance during previous typhoons is raising hope for better sustaining palay production even during inclement weather.

"Roots and other parts of such plants are stronger – we saw these plants can recover," Rasco said.
Earlier, PhilRice reported the PSB Rc18-Sub1 rice variety withstood 14-hour flash floods from onslaught of typhoon 'Quiel' this year.

Citing reports from Edwin de Jesus, a farmer evaluating the rice line since June, PhilRice said PSB Rc18-Sub1 "didn't turn brownish and was spared from pests and stunted growth" even after being submerged in 1.5 meter-deep waters then.

PhilRice further said de Jesus' report shows submergence did not affect the line's grain density.

Such line also withstood the four-day flood typhoon 'Juaning' triggered last July, PhilRice added.

"PSB Rc18, a variety for irrigated lowland with an average yield of five tons per hectare, is infused with submergence tolerance gene or Sub1 for the improved variety to survive, grow and develop even after 14 days of complete water submergence at vegetative state," PhilRice said.

PhilRice noted International Rice Research Institute and University of California at Davis discovered the Sub1 gene in the Indian rice variety FR13A.

Rasco said PhilRice will continue promoting location-specific selection of rice varieties to maximize production.

"Varieties selected must be suited to when and where these will be planted," he said.

The Philippines is celebrating this November the annual National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM).
PhilRice earlier lined up activities for this year's NRAM celebration.

Such activities include the ceremonial harvesting at the rice garden in Rizal Park (Nov. 18), holding of the NRAM exhibit in Davao City (Nov. 22-24), the 16-page rice conservation comics' launching in Quezon City (Nov. 28 ) and a fun run in Manila on Dec. 3 to highlight need for non-wasteful rice consumption and diet diversification.

Diet diversification includes eating rice substitutes like corn, root crops and bananas.

Rasco said PhilRice will also spearhead during NRAM discussions on the rice industry situation, farmers' problems and other rice concerns. [(PNA) LDV/CJT/utb]

Source: PhilRice sees sustained rice production
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