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Philippines releases heat-tolerant rice varieties

Philippines — The Department of Agriculture is ready to release for commercialization the  country’s first heat-tolerant rice variety amid worsening climate change impacts.

The national cooperative test of the Philippine Rice Research Institute has approved the release of NSIC RC 600 and RC 602, the first high temperature-tolerant rice varieties.

The varieties will be approved and registered by the National Seed Industry Council for commercialization.

Norvie Manigbas and Nenita Desamero, lead breeders of the varieties, said it took 10 years of breeding as a response to the threat of less rice production due to increasing temperature.

Due to climate change, temperature in the country has been increasing which causes sterility in rice.

Studies showed that 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.

“When temperature hits 35 degrees Celsius and above, the fertility of rice plants starts to decrease, thus, the need to develop high temperature-tolerant rice varieties,” they said.

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

The breeders noted that instruments 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 helped in breeding not only high temperature-tolerant, but also drought-tolerant rice varieties.

PhilRice said it would continue to collaborate with other rice stakeholders in the country and other rice-producing nations to develop multiple stress-tolerant rice varieties.

It has bred 96 inbred and hybrid rice varieties since 1992.

Source: philstar.com