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First PH heat-tolerant rice up for release

The country’s first high temperature-tolerant rice varieties developed by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) will soon be released following its approval from the National Cooperative Test (NCT).

After passing NCT, the varieties, which will be named NSIC Rc 600 and Rc 602, will be approved and registered by the National Seed Industry Council for commercial use.

Drs. Norvie Manigbas and Nenita Desamero, the lead breeders of NSIC Rc 600 and Rc 602, respectively, said in a statement that the varieties are products of 10 years of breeding in response to the threat of less rice production due to the rising temperature.

Manigbas said studies show that the temperature in the country is increasing, and high temperature causes sterility in rice.

Studies have projected temperature in most parts of the country will be higher than 35 degrees Celsius in the next 25 years, and may reach up to 40 degrees Celsius in the next 50 years, he said.

“When the temperature hits 35 degrees Celsius and above, the fertility of rice plant starts to decrease. Thus, the need to develop high temperature-tolerant rice varieties,” he added.

The team collaborated with Japan’s National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences as studying rice crop response to the elevated temperature needed for both conventional and high-end technologies.

“The instruments we use such as infrared thermal meter, automatic weather station, all-weather digital camera, automatic soil moisture meter, and Micrometeorological Instrument for the Near Canopy Environment of Rice (MINCER) help us in breeding not only high temperature-tolerant but also drought-tolerant rice varieties,” Manigbas said.

He added that PhilRice breeders will continue to collaborate with other rice stakeholders in the country and other rice-producing countries to develop multiple stress-tolerant rice varieties.

To date, DA-PhilRice has bred 96 inbred and hybrid rice varieties since 1992.*PNA

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