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United for food sufficiency.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in partnership with private companies conducted the first National Hybrid Rice Congress at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, April 3-5, to support the country’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP).

FSSP is the government’s banner program that aims to raise farm productivity and competitiveness, enhance farming incentives, and manage food staples consumption.

Dr. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang, one of the congress’ lead, said the activity had gathered public and seven private companies to map a unified direction of the hybrid rice industry.

“Although the government is aggressive in implementing programsthat will help the country become food, particularly, rice self-sufficient, it needs the support of the private sector to improve the quality of the hybrid rice and to increase seeds supply,” he said.

Based on studies, yield of hybrid rice seeds is 21 percent higher than certified seeds and 43 percent higher than home-saved ordinary seeds.

“Hybrid rice yield is also 15 percent more than the inbred rice. Under favorable conditions and proper farm management, farmers can attain a maximum yield of 12 t/ha a season. Farmers usually harvest 4 t/ha using inbred rice,” Quilang said.

Moreover, hybrid rice is P15,000- P20,000 more profitable than inbred rice.

Although hybrid rice showed better yield under certain conditions and has good potential to help the country become rice self-sufficient, more farmers are yet to adopt the variety.

“Policies and recommendations will be crafted during the congress to help fast track hybrid rice adoption. We also hope that the Philippine Hybrid Rice Industry Development Board will be established in this gathering,” Quilang said.

With the theme Bigas na Sapat, Binhing Hybrid ang Kabalikat, the congress had Prof. Yuan Longpin, father of Hybrid Rice, China’s revered national treasure, and 2001 Ramon Magsaysay awardee; and Secretaries Proceso J. Alcala, Virgilio R. Delos Reyes, and Ramon Jesus P. Paje as keynote speakers.

The three-day activity was implemented by PhilRice and Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology, and private companies including Bayer CropScience, Bioseed Research Philippines, Inc, DeVGen, DuPont Pioneer Philippines, SeedWorks Philippines, Inc, SL Agritech Corporation, and Syngenta.

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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