‘El Niño-ready’ rice varieties pushed | Inquirer Business

‘El Niño-ready’ rice varieties pushed

Farmers urged to use drought-resistant types

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is calling on rice farmers to plant “El Niño-ready” varieties for the coming wet-season crop cycle, amid efforts to minimize the impact of a dry spell on food supply.

The Department of Agriculture-supervised agency on Monday released a list of “early maturing” and “drought-tolerant” rice varieties, which PhilRice said need to be cultivated especially areas around the country that are deemed most vulnerable to the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Citing data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), PhilRice said places including the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Leyte, may bear the brunt of the dry spell.


The worst effects of El Niño are expected to be felt from the last quarter of 2014 until the first quarter of 2015.


According to PhilRice, planting rice varieties that mature early could mean that the crop would be harvested before drought comes.

“With drought-tolerant varieties, rice could still thrive even with limitations in water supply,” said Nenita V. Desamero, a PhilRice scientist that breeds rice.

For irrigated lowland farms, PhilRice highly recommends the variety called “Pagsanjan,” also known as PSB Rc10, as well as the “Tubigan 4” (PSB Rc134) and “Tubigan 14” (PSB Rc160).

For upland environments, PhilRice recommends the “Pasig” (PSB Rc80), “Apo” (PSB Rc9) and “Katihan 1” (PSB Rc23) varieties.

The agency also said that the drought-tolerant “Sahod Ulan 1” (NSIC Rc192) “Rio Grande” (PSB Rc14) and “Sacobia” (Rc68) are best for rain-fed, lowland farms.

In a report to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, PhilRice also provided a list of newly released varieties for such farms that are not served by the country’s network of irrigation infrastructure.


These include 11 other varieties of the Sahod Ulan series—Nos. 2-12—some of which can yield up to 6.7 tons of palay per hectare.

“Drought-tolerant varieties are recommended in areas that are regularly stressed and lack water supply,” Desamero said.

“But for rainfed areas with enough and fully distributed water from planting to harvesting, irrigated varieties can be used to exploit their high yield potential,” she added.

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The scientist added that with such a wide range of choices, farmers have a wide latitude for deciding wisely which varieties to plant.

TAGS: Business, El Niño, Philippine Rice Research Institute, PhilRice, rice varieties, Weather

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