October 16, 2019
In an attempt to increase rice production and to attain rice self-sufficiency in the Philippines, hybrid rice technology has been acknowledged and is now becoming a trend in the rice industry. Under the Department of Agriculture's Gintong Ani Program, hybrid varieties have been demonstrated on large-scale farmers' field trials at eleven provinces targeted for hybrid rice cultivation. The current state of the technology has been reached through collaborative efforts by members of the national rice R&D network spearheaded by PhilRice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and members of the private rice seed industry. Two hybrids, Magat and Mestizo, have been released in the country, hybrid rice seed production and cultivation technologies have been developed and packaged in the form of manuals, video tapes and other information dissemination materials, a critical mass of researchers, extension workers, and other key players in the rice seed industry and the national government have been educated on the various aspects of the technology during training courses held at IRRI and PhilRice, and the economic viability of hybrid rice cultivation and seed production have been studied and demonstrated. However, there is much to be done for hybrid rice technology to gain a solid foothold in Philippine rice agriculture. Challenges must be addressed to ensure that the increased yield levels attained in technology demonstration trials will be realized on farmers' rice fields leading to increased farm productivity and farmer-incomes. The development and use of hybrid rice technology in the Philippines provides a good example on how an international agricultural research centre and a national agricultural research system could jointly develop and benefit from a technology usable by the farmers for increasing rice yields.
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