In­bred rice for poor farm­ers

Agriculture - - Contents -

THE USUAL TALK about rice these days cen­ters on hy­brid rice. This is be­cause the per­cep­tion is that hy­brids are high yield­ing while the or­di­nary in­bred or open-pol­li­nated va­ri­eties (OPV) are very low yield­ing.

That’s not sur­pris­ing be­cause there are re­ports of some hy­brid rice farm­ers who are get­ting as high as 200 ca­vans per hectare (ha). On the other hand, many OPVs may be giv­ing only 70 to 80 ca­vans/ha.

The truth, how­ever, is that the cer­ti­fied yields of the hy­brids are much lower than 200 ca­vans/ha. SL-8, one of the pop­u­lar hy­brids, has a cer­ti­fied yield of 5.9 tons per hectare dur­ing the dry sea­son and 5.8 tons in the wet sea­son. That’s equiv­a­lent to 118 ca­vans dur­ing the dry sea­son and 116 ca­vans in the wet sea­son. Bi­gante, an­other pop­u­lar hy­brid in the mar­ket, on the other hand, has a cer­ti­fied yield of 5.6 tons per hectare dur­ing both wet and dry sea­sons.

Many farm­ers may not know it but there are two in­bred va­ri­eties de­vel­oped by the Philip­pine Rice Re­search In­sti­tute (PhilRice) and the In­ter­na­tional Rice Re­search In­sti­tute that pro­duce yields com­pa­ra­ble to those of hy­brids. One is NSIC Rc222, which has a cer­ti­fied yield of 6.8 tons per hectare dur­ing the wet sea­son and 5.8 tons dur­ing the dry sea­son. An­other in­bred is NSIC 216 with a cer­ti­fied yield of 6.4 tons per hectare dur­ing the wet sea­son and 4.9 tons dur­ing the dry sea­son. Both are cer­ti­fied by the Na­tional Seed In­dus­try Coun­cil.

A pri­vate agri­cul­tural re­searcher, Al­fonso G. Puyat, urges that farm­ers, es­pe­cially those who can­not afford the high cost of hy­brid seeds, might as well plant the im­proved OPVs for a num­ber of good rea­sons. One rea­son is that the seeds of in­breds cost only R 30 per kilo com­pared to R 300 per kilo for the hy­brid seeds.

There is an­other big ad­van­tage for farm­ers who plant the high-yield­ing in­bred va­ri­eties. They no longer have to buy new seeds for plant­ing be­cause they can set aside what they need from their own har­vest. That is some­thing they can­not do if they plant the hy­brid va­ri­ety. They have to buy new seeds all the time.

By the way, Puyat, who has done a lot of re­search on rice in his pri­vate ca­pac­ity, says that if all our rice farms could be made to yield 100 ca­vans per hectare, the pro­duc­tion could be enough to feed the present pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try. And a cheaper way to achieve that is to plant the im­proved in­bred va­ri­eties.

The seed pro­duc­ers can pro­duce enough cer­ti­fied seeds of in­bred rice for plant­ing. One hectare could yield five tons of in­bred seeds. On the other hand, one hectare could only pro­duce one ton of hy­brid seeds be­cause it is much more dif­fi­cult to pro­duce the seeds of hy­brid rice. Last year, the eight hy­brid seed com­pa­nies pro­duced only 94,000 18-kg bags enough to plant 95,000 hectares. Hy­brid seeds had to be im­ported to meet the re­quire­ments of the farm­ers.

Now you see, it’s high time our farm­ers took a good look at the high-yield­ing in­bred rice va­ri­eties.- ZAC B. SARIAN

This is RC222, which has long grains with good eat­ing qual­ity. It is also high yield­ing, giv­ing 6.8 tons per hectare dur­ing the wet sea­son and 5.8 tons dur­ing the dry sea­son.

This is a high yield­ing in­bred or OPV rice va­ri­ety.

This is an­other high-yield­ing in­bred or OPV rice va­ri­ety that can be grown both in the dry and wet sea­sons with high yield.

Ri­carte J. Cor­puz; his RJC-75 is a high-yield­ing OPV va­ri­ety that can be har­vested 75 days af­ter trans­plant­ing seedlings 25 days old.

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