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Philippines Government propagates
flood-tolerant rice to prepare for climate change by Jennifer Ng (Reporter)
The Department of Agriculture
(DA) is eyeing to propagate a flood-tolerant rice variety
developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)
as part of efforts to prepare the country for the ill effects
of climate change.
Dr. Frisco Malabanan, director of the Ginintuang Masagang
Ani Rice program of the DA, said the DA, together with ,
has started technology demonstrations of the submergence-
tolerant rice variety dubbed as IR64 Sub1.
“We’re looking to promote this technology in flood-prone
areas such as Davao del Norte and Pangasinan,” said Malabanan
in an interview, for its part, said on-farm testing of IR64
Sub1 will be conducted until 2009. The attached agency of
the DA is leading the on-farm testing.
Dr. Nenita Desamero of the Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Division will serve as team leader, while senior research
fellow Dr. Norvie Manigbas as lead scientist.
Malabanan said the DA will be willing to entertain the
requests of local governments to set up techno demo farms
in their respective locales.
The submergence-tolerance (Sub1) gene was discovered in
an Indian variety FR13A by researchers from the International
Rice Research Institute and the University of California-Davis.
The gene was then introduced to IR64, considered the most
popular rice variety in the Philippines.
noted that IR64 Sub1 is a non-genetically engineered rice
plant that can survive, grow and develop even after 10 days
of complete submergence to murky and cloudy water.
The flood-tolerant rice line is not totally different from
the original IR64 variety in terms of morphological characteristics
as plant height, tillering and yield performance.
In July last year pilot-testing of the rice line in San
Antonio, Nueva Ecija, failed because the crop was not submerged
during the evaluation period.
In the middle of last year, a prolonged dry spell hit the
country, causing water resources to dry up and farmers to
Traditionally, the Philippines is visited by 20 typhoons
a year, but in 2007, the country experienced only 13 typhoons
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