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Dr. Norvie L. Manigbas, one of the breeders of NSIC Rc298 – the first released variety for direct wet-seeded rice, was recently conferred Scientist I by the Philippine Scientific Career Council.

Manigbas, also a crop physiologist at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) for seven years, had bred and co-developed more than five elite breeding lines.

He had published seven papers in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)- indexed science journals and four non-ISI scientific journals. He had co-authored a manual, five patents, and presented scientific papers and posters in international and national scientific conferences.

He is also a recipient of grants, awards, and recognitions.

On breeding direct wet-seeded rice, Manigbas said that direct seeding is advantageous to farmers as it requires fewer expenses without reducing yield.

“Direct-seeded rice matures 7-10 days earlier than transplanted rice. So if a farmer plants early maturing varieties using direct seeding, he or she could cultivate rice in three cropping seasons if the condition is favorable. This means more income,” Manigbas said.

Currently, his team is developing tropical japonica direct-seeded varieties with tolerance on drought, better seedling vigor, and resistance against lodging. These varieties will also be high-yielding, pest and diseases-resistant, and will have good grain quality and high milling recovery.

Joining the other five conferred scientists at PhilRice, Manigbas also leads and pioneers the project on breeding heat tolerant rice in the Philippines in collaboration with national rice research institutes in South Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The heat tolerant rice varieties are expected to sustain temperatures up to 400C.

Manigbas said that his conferment as scientist is not one of his dreams, but was given to him as a result of his research work for 32 years.

“Professional growth is just one thing, but helping farmers and seeing them prosper using the varieties that we breed is my ultimate goal,” Manigbas 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