The National Cooperative Test (NCT) approved the release of the country’s first high temperature-tolerant rice varieties developed by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).

After passing NCT, the varieties, which will be named NSIC Rc 600 and Rc 602, will be approved and registered by the National Seed Industry Council for commercialization. Seeds will be available in two or three planting seasons.

Dr. Norvie L. Manigbas and Dr. Nenita V. Desamero, lead breeders of NSIC Rc 600 and Rc 602, respectively, said that the varieties are products of 10 years of breeding in response to the threat of less rice production due to increasing temperature.

Manigbas said studies show that temperature in the country is increasing, and high temperature causes sterility in rice.

He added that studies have projected temperature in most parts of the country will be higher than 35 degrees Celsius in the next 25 years, and may reach up to 40 degrees Celsius in the next 50 years.

“When temperature hits 35 degrees Celsius and above, the fertility of rice plant starts to decrease; thus, the need to develop high temperature-tolerant rice varieties,” the rice breeder stressed.

The team collaborated with Japan’s National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences as studying rice crop response to elevated temperature needed both conventional and high-end technologies.

“The instruments we use such as infrared thermal meter, automatic weather station, all weather digital camera, automatic soil moisture meter, and Micrometeorological Instrument for the Near Canopy Environment of Rice (MINCER) help us in breeding not only high temperature-tolerant, but also drought-tolerant rice varieties,” he shared.

He added that PhilRice breeders will continue to collaborate with other rice stakeholders in the country and other rice-producing countries to develop multiple stress-tolerant rice varieties.

To date, DA-PhilRice has bred 96 inbred and hybrid rice varieties since 1992.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute