Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The development of the hybrid rice industry in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia

An IRRI Seminar

By Henry Lim Bon Liong
Chair and CEO, SL Agritech Corporation

1.15 - 2.15pm, Thursday,  24 October 2013
Havener Auditorium, IRRI  

Hybrid rice technology as a national development strategy in the Philippines started in 1998. In 2002, the Hybrid Rice Commercialization Project was launched as a cornerstone of the Rice Self-Sufficiency Program (RSSP) of the country. This was inspired by spectacular gains made in China. In 2005, the area planted to hybrid rice reached 360,000 hectares, contributing 2.2 M mt of paddy or 15% of total paddy production. This was the technical basis for the RSSP submitted to the government in 2008. It was anchored on having 800,000 to 1 M hectares planted to hybrid rice.

As part of the celebration of the National Year of Rice this year, 2013, private seed companies, IRRI, and the public sector (DA, PhilRice, and the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology or PhilSCAT) joined together to conduct the first National Hybrid Rice Congress. The Congress was held primarily to promote hybrid rice as a means of supporting the national government’s Food Staple Sufficiency Program (FSSP), which aims to expand the area planted to hybrid rice by 400,000 hectares in 2014, and by 500,000 hectares in 2015 and 2016.

The private sector has adapted the private-public sector partnership (PPP) approach in expanding the areas planted to hybrid rice in the Philippines and in other Asian countries. China and India, which have the biggest populations globally, have the largest areas planted to hybrid rice. In Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam have more than 0.5 M hectares planted to hybrid rice in 2011. Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar also started planting hybrid rice in partnership with the private sector.

More than a decade after the start of hybrid rice commercialization in the Philippines and in other countries, the technology has been found to have contributed to improving rice productivity and can still contribute further. With climate change greatly affecting rice-growing areas, hybrid rice technology is an option that can be adapted as part of the national strategy to attain food sufficiency.

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