As the country plunged into darkness on the night of March 29, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, joined the 15 million Filipinos in switching off the lights from 8:30-9:30.
Since 2008, PhiRice had been participating in Earth Hour as commitment in mitigating the effects of climate change.
As deeper obligation, however, PhilRice started its work in developing rice varieties that can tolerate temperatures up to 40OC as respond to the threats of climate change.
Together with the International Rice Research Institute and the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, the country`s lead agency in rice research and development had also bred 12 varieties for drought-prone areas from 2010 to 2013.
Dr. Dindo T. Tabanao, head of PhilRice Plant Breeding and Biotechnology said that last year, the rice agency bred NSIC Rc346 (Sahod-ulan 11), a variety for rainfed areas. Maturing early at 103 days after seeding, it has a potential yield of 6.2 t/ha.
He also said that four varieties that can thrive in saline environment and can yield as high as 6 t/ha were developed. These include NSIC Rc324 (Salinas 10), Rc330 (Salinas 13), Rc332 (Salinas 14), and Rc338 (Salinas 17), which mature after 113 and 114 days after seeding.
The institute also optimizes biotechnology tools to develop heat- and submergence-tolerant varieties.
Owing to its good performance in rice research and development, PhilRice has the following certifications: ISO 14001:2004 (quality management), ISO 9001:2008 (environmental management), OHSAS 18001:2007 (occupational health and safety assessment series).