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An official of the Department of Agriculture had stressed that active partnership between the public and private sector will bring the “best seed to the rice farmer.”

Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr. executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said a more sustained research and development (R&D) activities will increase the adoption of hybrid rice – varieties that are at least 1 t/ha higher than inbred rice.

“[Although] some of the new inbreds can compete with the average hybrids in yield and/or profitability even under ideal conditions where hybrids traditionally excel…we need better hybrids than what we have now if we want farmer adoption to dramatically rise,” he said during the recent 1st National Hybrid Rice Congress at PhilRice Central Experiment Station in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

To help promote the acceptance of good hybrids, Rasco said PhilRice will continue its work at developing good inbred and hybrids to raise the standard for cost effectiveness; continue promoting its own hybrid; and continue training good scientists and farmers for eventual hiring by the private sector.

Meanwhile, the private hybrid rice industry, he said, must also continue to develop better hybrids and continue to improve the efficiency of producing hybrid seed to help improve the country’s social and economic status.

Rasco said PhilRice had been helping the hybrid rice seed industry in doing the “dirty job of opening doors for hybrid seed acceptance” by demonstrating the superiority of hybrids through its own hybrids. However, he said that private sector need not be threatened by PhilRice involvement as there are still areas where hybrids are yet to be introduced.

PhilRice also makes the hybrid technology available to the small private seed companies, cooperatives, and individual seed growers who cannot afford to pay for the cost of R&D.

“Seed growers could produce public hybrids without paying any license or royalties. Bigger seed companies are also welcome to use public hybrids, but they must understand that using public technology comes with the expectation that hybrid seed of public sector technology origin would be cheaper as the R&D that led to this was subsidized by taxpayers’ money,” he explained.

In terms of human resource, Rasco said PhilRice provides high level manpower to the private companies and trains hybrid seed growers to produce public hybrids.

The trainings for seed growers extended by PhilRice, he said, save the private sectors from a lot of money for trial and error.

According to Rasco, “the matter of selecting the best location and time for growing hybrid seed, and the location-specific techniques for efficient hybrid seed production, critical decisions that could cause a lot of money if not done properly, is a decision that does not have to cost private seed companies because PhilRice has done the trial and error for them.”

“The promise of hybrids should not be ignored…Hybrid breeding must improve faster than inbred breeding….This requires a more sustained R&D on hybrids, with the public and private sectors actively helping each other,” he said.

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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