Hybrid rice demo farm to yield 275 tons in Davao del Sur town

  • DEMO FARM. Officials from the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region, the Davao del Sur provincial government, and other partners lead the ceremonial planting ceremony of hybrid rice seedlings to the 35-hectare demo farm in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur, on Wednesday (July 5, 2023). Some 275 tons of hybrid rice are expected for harvest on the farm by September this year. (Photo courtesy of DA-11)

    DAVAO CITY – Some 275 tons of rice will be harvested in the hybrid rice cluster demo project for the wet season in Hagonoy town, Davao del Sur, in September this year, the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11) said Thursday.

    Evelyn Basa, DA-11 rice program coordinator, said with an expected yield of a minimum of seven tons per hectare, the project can contribute to the country's rice production target for 2027.

    Basa credited the initiative to the collaboration among DA-11, the Philippine Rice Board, the Davao del Sur provincial government, and the Hagonoy municipality, whose representatives conducted a ceremonial planting at the demo farm in Barangay Sinayawan.

    The 35-hectare farm showcases 24 rice varieties and technologies from different seed companies and growers.

    “The demo farm will serve as an avenue for farmers to observe and learn various technologies on cultural management practices, mechanical and seeding, and nutrient management such as the 'Abonong Swak' recommendation that can help them improve their production,” Basa said in a statement.

    She said the expected harvest on the third week of September forms part of the culmination activity of the 16th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) from Sept. 18-22, 2023.

    Meanwhile, Basa said the ongoing distribution of hybrid rice seeds to the members of Irrigators Associations (IAs) and Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations or FCAs aims to increase the adoption of hybrid rice seeds by up to 40 percent.

    This is part of the DA's strategy, she said, to reach an average hybrid rice yield level of up to six tons per hectare (ton/ha) in the wet season, and up to eight ton/ha in the dry season in target areas by 2028.

    Eligible beneficiaries will be provided fuel subsidies, especially those who own or rent agricultural machinery used for crop production such as tractors, transplanters, harvesters, and shredders. (PNA)

  • Iloilo launches P30-M hybrid rice program

  • ILOILO CITY -- As part of the target sites of the Department of Agriculture (DA-6) in Western Visayas region, the provincial government of Iloilo has launched a P30-million hybrid rice seed program to cater to more than 6,000 hectares of rice farms.

    “We are pushing for the hybridization program to improve our current average yield of 4.5 metric tons per hectare of palay even before the completion of the biggest dam project outside Luzon, the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II,” said Iloilo Governor Arthur ‘Toto’ Defensor Jr.Hybrid Rice.jpg

    Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. leads the distribution of hybrid seeds to farmer beneficiaries in San Miguel town, Iloilo province to boost yield this planting season.  (DA-6)

    The program is part of Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES) that was launched in San Miguel town, where 309 bags of seeds were distributed to farmer beneficiaries.

    In a report released by the DA-6, only seven towns in Iloilo province were  able to avail 45,000 bags of hybrid seeds in fiscal year 2022. These included Ajuy, Dumangas, Pavia, Mina, New Lucena, Barotac Nuevo, and Banate. These towns had an average yield of five metric tons per hectare.

    The DA-6 backs the Iloilo Agricultural Office to boost the area and yield for hybrid planting this year.

  • Unleashing the Potential of Hybrid Rice in Pakistan

  • Rice is Pakistan’s second staple food and fourth-biggest export after Knitwear, Readymade garments, and Bed wear, but its production declined by 41 percent during 2022-23, coming in at 5.5 million tons according to the data published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    The primary reason was devastating floods that knocked off 80 percent of expected rice production in Sindh which contributes to nearly a third of national output. Rice is also facing severe challenges from climate, weeds, and pests.

    The true potential of any crop’s success is hidden in its seeds and hybrid rice is a potential answer to these barriers.

    Hybrids for rice first surfaced during the 1970s when Dr Yuan Longping and his team averted a catastrophic famine in China making it the biggest rice producer in the world. He is still remembered as the second leader of the Green Revolution along with Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug.

    Globally, rice has two main subspecies, Japonica and Indica. The Japonica rice comes from temperate & high-altitude environments, is short & stickier when cooked, and is cultivated in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

    Indica rice on the other hand is long, non-sticker (separate after cooking), and is grown in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Southern China, and Africa. In Pakistan, all cultivated varieties from basmati, extra-long grain, and coarse rice belong to the Indica species.

    In traditional varieties, plants have both male and female parts on the same flower and reproduce through self-pollination, but hybrid rice is produced by crossing two different parents. It causes a process called heterosis, producing more spikelets (rice flower unit) per unit area and increased grain weight, yielding 20-30% more in comparison to traditional cultivars.

    The hybrid rice program was formally initiated in Pakistan during the 1990s at Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku (RARI) in a combined effort with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). In 2021, the government approved Pakistan’s first Basmati Rice Hybrid developed at RARI and directed the auction of the licenses for marketing and distribution.

    “Developing Basmati Hybrids is quite challenging because we have to protect its famous length and aroma” stated Dr Shawaiz Iqbal, Senior Scientist at RARI. He explained that the approved variety KSK111H has a yield potential of 115 maunds/acre and holds all the other features of basmati rice.

    Although the process of commercializing is stalled after the government shuffle since the process of auction is yet to be outlined.

    Lahore-based Guard Agriculture Research & Services is another industry leader in hybrid rice in Pakistan with a 74 percent market share. They have successfully developed and marketed half a dozen hybrid cultivars all having production potential of 120 maunds/acre and resistance against disease, shattering, lodging, and heat.

    One of the key aspects of rice hybrids is increased yield from the same unit area of land. Pakistan is the fifth-largest country by population in the world and will soon cross Indonesia for the 4th spot. It is a double-edged sword putting pressure on existing food production while leaving less agricultural land on the other hand.

    Our only shot at the food security of future generations is to ensure a vertical increase in production and hybrid cultivars are the key to that challenge. The second major threat to Rice production is looming climate change and resulting water scarcity. Rising temperatures are also a precursor to an increased occurrence of diseases and pests.

    Hybrid cultivars provide us with the opportunity to effectively cope with these challenges without putting more pesticides and other agrochemicals in the field and further threatening the biodiversity and sustainability of the ecosystem. Hybrids can break the yield barriers and escape drought as well due to their shorter life span.

    For example, all the rice hybrids introduced by Guard Agriculture Research are resistant to Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB). They can also sustain against salinity and water logging, which is increasingly ravaging our lands due to floods and mismanagement of water resources.

    Lastly, hybrid rice will not only ensure domestic food security but will also fuel exports with increasing demand for this important cereal internationally especially the coarse types. Although hybrid rice gets lower prices in the local market in comparison to basmati, companies like Guard Agriculture assist farmers in exporting their produce.

    The prime challenge in their widespread use is affordability both to farmers and the country. Being hybrids, farmers will have to buy their fresh seeds every year. If farmers cultivate the same seed from the previous year’s hybrid crop, the crop will produce inconsistent results and surely will not achieve ideal yields.

    “The performance of Chinese hybrids is subject to specific climate as they are not all locally adopted, unlike our domestic cultivars”, added Iqbal.

    He maintained that these hybrids are also vulnerable to climate change as happened during 2020 heatwaves, especially in September when temperature shifts affect flowering significantly.

    He also argued that there is a need to protect the heritage of basmati rice by limiting the cultivation of these hybrids to Lower Punjab and Sindh, out of the Kallar Tract Rice belt (Narowal, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Kasur, Sheikhupura, etc).

    Pakistan is the largest importer of hybrid rice in the world and has failed to indigenize its production despite years of collaboration with international actors, especially China. It drains foreign exchange from an agricultural-rich country that is always struggling to keep up with the balance of payments.

    Government and private institutions must work on the technology transfer of hybrid rice which will not just ensure the indigenization of hybrids & save foreign reserves, but will also create huge local employment opportunities and will be relatively affordable due to domestic production.

  • Hybrid rice planted on record area

  • Farmers have planted hybrid rice on the highest amount of land in the current Boro season, the source of the biggest crop output, to profit from higher production and prices of the staple grain in the market. 

    Preliminary data of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) showed that overall planting of Boro increased nearly 4 per cent to 49.99 lakh hectares of land in this cultivation season.

    Of that, hybrid varieties of paddy cover 14 lakh hectares, the highest on record, which is nearly one-third of the total acreage of Boro.

    On a year-on-year basis, the area being used for hybrid cultivation is 23 per cent higher from the 11.36 lakh hectares recorded by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in fiscal year 2021-22.

    "We have really seen a good year. Most of the companies have had good business this year," said Humayun Kabir, managing director of Supreme Seed Company Ltd, a major seed seller.

    This is the seventh consecutive year farmers have shown growing interest to increase land allocation for hybrid rice, a type of rice bred from two very different parents to bag a higher yield from a relatively smaller piece of land.

    The scenario gradually changed since fiscal year 2015-16 when acreage of hybrid rice stood at 6.81 lakh hectares, according to the BBS.

    In fiscal year 2021-22, farmers bagged 53 lakh tonnes of rice from the hybrid varieties during the Boro season, the harvests of which are made in the April-June period.

    The amount was more than a fourth of that fiscal year's Boro season output of 2 crore tonnes. In terms of acreage, the area under hybrid cultivation was over one-fifth of the total land used during the Boro season.

    Kabir of Supreme Seed said hybrid rice provides up to 20 per cent higher yield than inbred varieties if farmers properly follow cultivation practices. This is one of the major reasons for the increase in the planting of the varieties.

    Besides, introduction of finer grain varieties of hybrid has attracted growers as finer grains enable better marketability than coarse grains, he said.

    "The middle-income population prefers finer rice than coarse ones and companies have started introducing the varieties for the last five-six years," said Kabir, also general secretary of Bangladesh Seed Association.

    During the early stage of hybrid rice cultivation in Bangladesh, Chinese varieties were introduced and the rice became sticky after boiling.

    "Now the quality of hybrid rice is better. The amount of stickiness is low," he said, adding that these factors were encouraging growers to replace inbred rice.

    Kabir said cost of cultivation of hybrid was not much higher than high yielding varieties. The cost of seed is higher, accounting for 10 per cent of the total cost, he said.

    Farmers also need to apply more fertiliser, he said, adding that the agronomy, or the science of soil management and crop production, of hybrid rice cultivation was almost the same.

    "But they can cover the cost when it comes to overall production," said Kabir.

    FH Ansarey, managing director of ACI Agribusiness Division, said an increase in the price of paddy had encouraged growers to invest more on hybrid cultivation.

    Prices data compiled by the by Food and Agriculture Organization showed that wholesale rate of a quintal or 100 kilogrammes of coarse rice was Tk 4,326 in February this year, up from Tk 4,155 a year ago.

    "We expect good sales in the coming Aman season too," he said.

    Anwar Faruque, a former agriculture secretary, said an increased number of companies were in the seed business.

    "Their promotional campaigns also had an impact," he said.

    DAE Director General Badal Chandra Biswas said increased coverage of hybrid was a positive development as overall production would rise.

    Regarding increased acreage of Boro, he said new areas had come under Boro cultivation this year. Many tobacco farmers had switched to rice this year, he said.

    "We have also seen farmers planting rice after harvesting potato," he said. 

  • Rice Hybridization Program aims to make Davao rice-sufficient

  • AS DAVAO Region only reached 54 percent rice sufficiency in the last two years, an official from the Department of Agriculture - Davao Region (DA-Davao) said the Rice Hybridization Program would help achieve the goal for the region to become completely rice-sufficient as it will solve the lack of local rice production.

    Evelyn Basa, DA-Davao agricultural center chief said during the Agribiz Media Forum, for both 2021 and 2022 Davao Region missed 46 percent to become rice-sufficient.

    Rice sufficiency is the ability of the region to produce local rice crops for public consumption.

    Basa added that with DA’s efforts of strengthening the Rice Hybridization Program, hybrid rice seeds, along with inbred rice seeds, will be distributed for free to eligible farmers.

    “The hybrid rice ay may kakayahang magpa-increase og production (Hybrid variants can increase rice production) by up to 10 to 30 percent based on the techno-demonstrations na gina-conduct namo (that we are conducting) nationwide ,” Basa said.

    “For as long as fully irrigated siya mabuhi man ang atong hybrid rice, and tested na pod na siya sa Davao Region (As long as the area is fullyirrigated, our hybrid rice will survive. Seeds are also proven effective here in Davao Region),” she added.

    Basa added the department earmarked P492 million for this program, in which 11 variants of hybrid rice seeds will be distributed to eligible farmers.

    “They [The farmers] must register first from RSBSA (Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture), then through LGU coordinations gihapon nato sa RFO (regional field office) ato siyang [seeds] i-distribute sa atong farmers,” Basa said.

    Basa said hybrid seeds cost P5,000 per bag compared to inbred seeds which only cost P1,520 per bag.

    Although hybrid seeds are pricey, they give more return on investment (ROI) than their inbred counterpart.

    Basa added that farmers who don’t want to plant hybrid rice, the department can provide them with free inbred seeds.

    Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data from 2022, about 490,125 metric tons of rice was produced in Davao Region compared to 2020, which was only 484,000 metric tons.

    Basa said the Rice Hybridization Program, which was started through High Yield Technology Adoption for Hybrid Rice Project (HYTA-HR) aims to meet the need for growing food consumption. She added that Davao Region is importing rice from neighboring regions and countries.

  • Rice VEC Of PARC Recommends 10 New Verities Of Hybrid Seeds For Cultivation

  • ISLAMABAD  – Rice Variety Evaluation Committee (VEC) of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council on Wednesday approved and recommended 10 new hybrids seeds verities for commercial cultivation in order to enhance per-acre crop output of the crop in the country.
    Out of the total new approved hybrids seed verities, one variety is long grain that is famous world over for its aroma and taste. The VEC met with Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali in chair. Dr Muhammad Yousuf, National Coordinator presented the working paper for the sixty-two rice hybrids varieties for consideration and approval. The representatives of national and multinational seed companies including Seed Association of Pakistan, Crop Life Pakistan, Pakistan Hi-tech Hybrid Seed Association and federal and provincial research institutes attended the meeting.
    Speaking on the occasion, Chairman PARC highlighted the role of private and public sector in research and development of rice in the country and emphasized the importance of quality seed for enhancing the productivity and profitability of farmers. He asked the seed companies for making efforts to provide high quality of rice to farmers in the country in order to enhance local output of crop to tackle with domestic needs as well as enhancing exports to fetch foreign exchange reserves. Dr Ali also appreciated the role PARC scientists and private-public sector collaboration for taking interest in research and development of rice in the country, adding that the matching efforts would help in ensuring quality high yielding seed verities of wheat, cotton, maize and sugarcane to enhance their productivity.
    Dr. Imtiaz Hussain, Chairman Committee and Member Plant Sciences Division PARC presided over the variety evaluation committee meeting and informed participants that PARC is committed to perform its role in variety evaluation in transparent manner in collaboration with National Agricultural Research System.
    The Committee recommended nine rice hybrids and one long grain variety for commercial cultivation in the country. Representatives of seed companies appreciated the role of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council for its role in testing of rice hybrids varieties in Pakistan for the benefits of farmers as well as rice sector.

  • Hybrid rice seeds harvested in Guizhou, SW China

  • Aerial photo taken on Aug. 11, 2022 shows a view of a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Xinhua/Yang Ying)

    Aerial photo taken on Aug. 11, 2022 shows reapers harvesting hybrid rice seeds at a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Xinhua/Yang Ying)

    Aerial photo taken on Aug. 11, 2022 shows reapers harvesting hybrid rice seeds at a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Xinhua/Yang Ying)

    A reaper harvests hybrid rice seeds at a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Aug. 11, 2022. (Photo by Yang Yun/Xinhua)

    Villagers harvest hybrid rice seeds at a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Aug. 11, 2022. (Xinhua/Yang Ying)

    A villager harvests hybrid rice seeds at a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Aug. 11, 2022. (Photo by Luo Hui/Xinhua)

    A villager dries hybrid rice seeds at a hybrid rice seed production base in Zhouping Village of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Aug. 11, 2022. (Photo by Tang Peng/Xinhua)

  • ‘Hybrid rice cultivation still negligible in India’

  • The area under hybrid rice cultivation has not made big headway due to lack of supportive infrastructure, huge disparity in commodity prices (offered by millers and commission agents), inadequate government procurement infrastructure and the lack of investment in R&D to improve taste and cooking quality, according to a Bayer official. Just around 3 million hectares out of the 43 million hectares under rice cultivation is said to be hybrids.

    Consumer requirements

    “The area under hybrid rice, however, has grown at a CAGR of 10 per cent over the last three years,” said Ajeet Chahal, Commercial Lead (Central), Bayer CropScience Ltd. “In the early years of introduction, the focus was on yield enhancement. Eventually, it has shifted towards parameters such as grain quality to cater to a larger section of consumers.”
    “Though rice is widely consumed in southern India, consumers have specific grain quality requirements. They prefer short slender fine rice, but the current hybrid offerings do not meet these requirements. We are planning new launches on these lines,” Chahal told BusinessLine. The company introduced hybrid rice under the ‘Arize’ brand in 1995. Currently, it markets 14 rice hybrids in India with 2.6 million farmers across 17 States taking to the cultivation of Arize. Santhi Devi, a farmer at Bhondra in Jharkand multicrops Arize with vegetables. She says she has been able to steadily grow her income, negating the need to rely on loans. “Short duration hybrids enable multi-cropping, mostly with vegetables. This not only helps improve soil quality but requires less water, apart from providing 25 to 30 per cent higher yield,” Chahal explained. To a query on seed availability, he said 25,000 seed producer-farmers are part of Arize supply chain.

    Official commendation

    Of the 14 hybrids grown in India, seven have received official commendation for consistent high performance. “In Kharif 2019, we undertook massive capacity building activities across Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, covering one lakh rice farmers in 1,765 villages,” Chahal said.
    Hybrid rice has been earmarked as a key technology under the government’s BGREI (Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India) programme. Bayer is working on several private-public partnerships and collaborative models to spread the reach, he said.
  • 12 hybrid rice varieties to be available from July

  • WOMEN sowing rice in a field on the outskirts of Lahore. Of the 130 rice varieties developed in the country, at least 12 are already being sown by farmers.—Dawn file photo ISLAMABAD: At least twelve new hybrid rice ­varieties will be available to farmers for cultivation ­during the next Kharif crop season starting in July. The new varieties were approved by the Variety Evaluation Committee of Pakistan Agriculture Coun­cil (Parc) in Islamabad on Wednesday after reviewing twenty-six proposals. Research on these varieties was carried out at the rice research laboratory of National Agriculture Research Centre. A senior official of NARC told Dawn that following the approval by the committee, the new hybrids of rice can now be imported from China. So far, 130 different varieties of rice have been developed of which at least twelve varieties are currently sown by farmers in rice growing areas of the country. Punjab is the largest in terms of the crop’s production, followed by Sindh and then the remaining parts. In addition to the 12 types, an open pollinated variety of rice for commercial cultivation was also approved by the committee. While farmers can keep seeds of pollinated rice variety, the hybrid has to be changed after every crop. Parc chairman briefed the committee about the upcoming projects on rice under the Prime Minister’s ‘National Agriculture Emergency Programme’. Presiding over the variety evaluation committee meeting, Member Plant Sciences Division of PARC, Dr Abdul Ghafoor emphasised the role of quality seed for productivity and profitability of farmers. Representatives of seed companies appreciated the role of Parc for setting new benchmarks for testing of rice varieties in Pakistan. Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2019
  • Removal of tariff on hybrid rice seeds pushed

  • MANILA, Philippines — Rice industry stakeholders are urging the government to remove the tariff on hybrid rice seeds and allocate a portion of the P10-billion fund for improving hybridization. SL Agritech Corp., the largest producer of hybrid rice and seeds in the country, sought the removal of up to 50 percent levy on imported hybrid rice seeds. “This will have a huge effect on our farmers. All seeds especially hybrid cannot be produced in the Philippines since we do not have a compact area due to land reform,” SL Agritech technical advisor Frisco Malabanan told reporters yesterday.
    The rice tariffication bill was already submitted to the Office of the President last month and will lapse into law if not acted upon next week. “If we will follow the proposed tariff bill, tariff will be up to 50 percent. Hybrid seeds are already costly.  The tariff will further discourage farmers to plant more,” he added. Read more at https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/02/05/1890814/removal-tariff-hybrid-rice-seeds-pushed#eh7z7yaj7LRBScrO.99
  • Pakistan to export 100 tons hybrid rice seeds for first time in April

  • Pakistan to export 100 tons hybrid rice seeds for first time in April LAHORE: Pakistan is all set to export the first ever consignment of 100 tons heat-tolerant rice seeds to the Philippines next month, a senior industry official said – a shipment that is long-awaited since the country begun experimenting hybrid technology over a decade back. “The first ever consignment of 100 tons high-yielding hybrid rice seed is expected to be exported to the Philippines in April, which will be sufficient to cultivate about 15,000 acres of land,” Shahzad Ali Malik, chief executive officer (CEO) of hybrid seed company Guard Agricultural Research and Services told journalists early this week. The success of Pakistani scientists in developing prime rice seed varieties was a result of partnership with Chinese researchers, led by Yuan Longping, in 2004 after development of hybrid seed breeding technique across the coastal belt of Sindh. The country was expecting to ship the maiden consignment of hybrid rice seeds last year, but it was delayed because officials said it takes a long process from harvesting and grading to regulatory procedures before such seed gets ready for the plantation. Malik said as the hybrid seed is produced in harsh weather of coastal belt it is suitable for plantation in changing climate of China and other Far Eastern countries of Asia, offering lucrative exports market. “India can also take huge benefits from this seed technology.” Guard Agricultural Research’s chief, while talking about climate change and its impact on agro-ecosystems, said the need to develop heat-tolerant and drought-resistant hybrid rice seed varieties becomes immensely important due to climate change. Production of premium quality seed by the private sector is a big achievement as public sector institutions or multinationals monopolise the seed development. Malik said his company also carried out hybrid rice trials for seed multiplication in South-Central districts of Punjab. “The step would prove very beneficial in increasing area of hybrid rice in Punjab by offering low cost of production to growers,” he added. “Consequently, production of hybrid rice varieties would lead to opening of more export avenues, a win-win situation for researchers, farmers and the economy.” Hybrid seed varieties, being cultivated in Sindh coastal belt, have a very healthy production capacity of seven to eight tons/hectare. One of the varieties has strong roots and stem systems, enhancing its endurance against high winds. Chinese researchers are also helping their Pakistan counterparts to introduce super-hi hybrid variety of rice with 18 tons/hectare yield potential. Philippines, one of the world’s biggest rice producers and importers, is facing invariable import supplies, keeping the country at the risk of food shortages. Introduction of hybrid seed on vast scale is seen as a solution to the problem. The south east Asian nation’s rice crop season would start during the next month. It wants to increase area under hybrid rice cultivation to 30 percent. Only high-yielding hybrid rice varieties could help in tremendously increasing yields without increasing acreage, achieving vertical growth potential. In the recent years, even Thailand and some other major producers had to import rice to meet its demand mainly due to inconsistent performance of agriculture due to multiple factors.
  • PARC starts campaign to promote hybrid rice cultivation

  • ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) in collaboration with Chinese hybrid rice seeds research organization has initiated a campaign to promote hybrid seed cultivation across the crop growing areas of the country.  The main aim of this joint initiative was to enhance per acre crop productivity, increase profitability and produce surplus commodity for exports enhancement.  In this regard, an official of the council told APP here Friday that both the countries have decided to work together for conducting joint awareness programmes to adopt hybrid rice seeds.  The Chinese scientists are scheduled to train 30 Pakistani agriculture scientists, selected from all the four provinces.  Besides, he said that they will also impart training to the members of the provincial field extension departments on hybrid rice cultivation.  They would also organize road-shows and field visits across the rice-growing areas to address the issues and challenges in promotion of hybrid rice seed, he added.  He further informed that the a revolutionary hybrid rice seed was recently developed by the Chinese researchers, which would help Pakistani farmers to enhance significantly their per acre yield.  The new developed rice seed variety would help to produce extra surplus, hence the country would be able to export more rice for exporting it to other countries, he added.  He said a travelling seminar has also been designed by PARC and Chinese Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture Company to travel in all the four ecological zones of the country in Khyber Pukhtunkhawa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.  The main objective of the seminar was to estimate the local hybrid seed requirements for different regions and showcase the hybrid rice varieties, he remarked.  In addition, he said that the other aim if the activity was the capacity building of the local experts from all over the country in order to promote the hybrid rice techniques.  High level Chinese team comprising on 12 top hybrid rice experts will be the part of this travelling rice seminar, he added. 
  • Hybrid rice scientists from China arrives to train 30 local scientists

  • Hybrid rice scientists from China arrives to train 30 local scientists ISLAMABAD: A group of Chinese agriculture experts, comprising 12 hybrid rice scientists, arrived here Tuesday to train local scientist and farmers on hybrid rice cultivation technologies to improve per acre crop productivity. The Chinese scientists are scheduled to train 30 Pakistani agriculture scientists, selected from all the four provinces. Besides, they will also impart training to the members of the provincial field extension departments on hybrid rice cultivation. They would also organize road-shows and field visits across the rice-growing areas to address the issues and challenges in promotion of hybrid rice seed. In this regard an inaugural ceremony was held at National Agriculture Research Center, which was attended by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Nasir Iqbal Bosal, Agriculture and Economic Councilor of Chinese Embassy Dr Wang and Chief Executive Officer of Yaun Longping Hi-tech Company limited China. The Ministry of Commerce Peoples Republic of China is the main sponsor of the initiative, where as Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and Agriculture Innovation Programme are also collaborating in promoting the hybrid seed technologies. Addressing the event, Chinese Agriculture and Economic Councilor said that it was the first bilateral initiative, aiming to enhance per acre rice yield by promoting hybrid rice techniques in Pakistan. Under the programme, he said that private sector companies of both the countries would cooperate to promote the hybrid rice production that would almost double the per acre crop yield. He further said that hybrid rice technologies would help to enhance per acre crop output, besides increasing farm income and reduce the poverty. The hybrid rice technology would also bring revolution in Pakistani Basmati rice production, which was famous all over the world for its taste and aroma. Addressing the event, CEO of Yaun longping High-Tech Agriculture Company said that the training course was designed in accordance with the requirements of local farmers. She said that the training course would include lectures and field visits for active participation of local farming community for the better results. Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Food Security said that government was determined to promote agri-sector of the country. He informed that rice crop was cultivated over 2.7 million hectares and was the second major staple food crop of the country, adding that the Chinese expertise would help to enhance the local crop output significantly. He hoped that the bilateral cooperation in agri-sector would bring the positive results and further enhance the crop output by minimizing the inputs. Speaking on the occasion Chairman PARC stressed the need for bringing innovation and introducing mechanized farming to make the local produces more competitive in international markets. He said currently Pakistan was surplus wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize and potato, adding that these products were comparatively costly due to use of conventional agri-technologies. Meanwhile, Member Plant Sciences Dr Anjum Ali informed that the aim of the training course on hybrid rice was to educate the local farming community about the hybrid technology and seed selection for achieving maximum per acre yield.
  • Chinese hybrid rice to produce 18 tons per hectare record yield

  • LAHORE: Rice growing experts on Tuesday said that the launch of Chinese Hybrid rice in Pakistan would bring revolution in rice production having yield of 18 tons per hectare or more than 150 maunds per acre.  Talking to APP the experts said that both China and Pakistan currently sown around 7-8 tons per hectares that is 15 percent more than conventional yield of rice.  Sino-Pakistan Hybrid Rice Research Centre (SPHRRC) director Professor Mohammad Zubair, said that the new rice variety would help to increase per acre yield for Pakistani farmers and increased export of rice to other countries, including China, in future.  He said that both China and Pakistan were currently sowing around 7-8 tons per hectares that is 15 percent more than conventional yield of rice.  The amount of the double-cropping rice is equal to that produced over three seasons in the past, marking a big breakthrough, he said.  To a question he said that Chinese Professor Yuan, is the father of this hybrid rice. He said his discovery of high- yield hybrid rice would help end the food crisis in the globe, which was highly regarded in China and in the world.  Prominent rice scientist and researcher, Professor Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary said that "father of hybrid rice," Professor Yuan began theoretical research about 50 years ago and continued to set new records in the average yields of hybrid rice plots.  He said that the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) honoured professor Yuan with different titles and awards during the last four decades.  Yuan received World Food Prize 2004 for his landmark achievement for developing the genetic materials and technologies important for breeding hybrid rice varieties, he said.  As the first person to discover fast growth with greater yield and stress resistance he is acknowledged highly.  Meanwhile Punjab secretary agriculture Muhammad Mahmud said that Pakistani scientists, earlier had successfully developed a technology that will help farmers sow rice without water.  As rice is sown with water in abundance in the field, however, the recent development would be helpful for the farming community facing water shortage problem, he added.  Professor Iqbal said that the only way to safeguard the global food supply is to raise the amount of yield per unit area via advanced technologies, including those that focus on water conservancy, fertilizer optimization, soil cultivation and improved seeds.  He said that Pakistan needed to make a massive investment in science and technology for a long period to entertain the desired progress.  Noted environmentalist Dr Maqsood said that the global rice production is likely to fall in coming years due to climate change and its impacts, so it is a high time for Pakistan to avail benefit from the upcoming demand by increasing its rice production through sustainable practices.  To a query he said according to recent studies, climate change and its impacts on extreme weather and temperature swings is projected to reduce the global production of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans by 23 percent.  It is pertinent to mention here that rice is the country's largest export crop (3.8 million Metric Tonnes per annum). The country has more than a thousand rice mills catering to the need of farmers growing 5.54 million tonnes per annum on an area of 2.5 million hectares.  This important crop accounts for 6.7 percent of value added in the agricultural sector, and 1.6 percent of national GDP.  Pakistan enjoys a strong competitive advantage in the export sector due to consumer preference in destination markets for aromatic and long grain rice. 
  • Hybrid Rice | China, Pakistan to enhance bilateral cooperation in agriculture

  • BEIJING: A World renowned company in the field of Hybrid rice production, Tianjin Tianlong Agricultural Science and Technology has shown keen interest in enhancing bilateral cooperation with Pakistan. The company is engaged in new crop breed research and its industrialization, deep process technology for agricultural products and forage biotechnology research and industrialization, crop seeds production and distribution. The company was having a good export of it’s hybrid rice to Pakistan as China Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided enormous opportunities to cooperate more, said a company’s representative. Tianlong not only focused in seeds research, but it has also expanded the business in many fields, such as, hybrid rice seeds trading, processing technological researches for agricultural products, the feed’s biotechnology research, agricultural products import & export, but also focuses on advanced agricultural project investments. It is the second largest exporter of hybrid rice seeds in China while already had few customers in 10 countries including Pakistan, Hongkong, Indonesia, North and South Korean, Vienan. The Company’s representative told to a vising media’s delegation that they were also supplying agricultural machinery, rice fertilizer and mixed feed to different countries. The hybrid rice production technology of the company was 25 years ahead than its competitors in all over the world. The delegation was informed that the company was wholly responsible for hybrid rice production in North and South China.
  • Hybrid rice improves yields for farmers

  • Hybrid rice improves yields for farmers

    Fifteen new varieties of rice are set to be released to farmers to boost the production of the local crop.

    Fifteen new varieties of rice are set to be released to farmers to boost the production of the local crop which is performing dismally at the moment. One of the hybrids can do well under irrigation, while the other can survive under rain-fed farming, just like maize, thus saving farmers the hefty cost of pumping water for irrigation. “The new varieties will improve yields of rice and make it as competitive as imported rice in terms of quality, price and affordability,” said Dr Kayode Sanni, the rice manager for The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) which is overseeing the five-year project that was launched in 2012. The yields range from seven to 10 tonnes per hectare, provided that the farmer adheres to good farming practices, including creating good soil conditions for the seedlings. “From our analysis, farmers stand to gain an average of Sh35, 000 to Sh100, 000 more than with the old variety,” he said. According to Electine Wafula, a plant breeder at Hybrids East Africa Limited, who worked on the crop, the new rice varieties will mature early, will adapt to various environments and require less water, thus improving farmers’ incomes. With the exception of Pishori, a local aromatic rice, most locally-grown rice takes longer to mature, than hybrids which mature within three months. However, the problem with Pishori is that it has a lower yield and is also prone to diseases, especially blast. IMPORTED QUALITY Despite being the country’s second staple food, Kenya produces less than 200, 000 metric tonnes of rice against a demand of over 450,000 metric tonnes according to data from the National Irrigation Board. The gap is bridged with imports from Asian countries, further dulling the market for local farmers whose rice is of poorer quality. “The hybrid is of good quality and can replace our indigenous rice. It also has characteristics of Pishori which is loved by Kenyans, and has a more translucent and stronger grain,” said Dr Raphael Wanjogu, the chief research officer at the National Irrigation Board. Despite being popular, many Kenyans opt to buy imported rice over Pishori, because the imported varieties are cheaper. Imports are also of  better quality than other varieties of local rice. “This new type is closer to Pishori, so with its quality and yields, it will enable us take over the market from importers. It can also be grown in areas where Pishori cannot do well like in western Kenya,” said Dr Wanjogu. The fast-maturing rice can grow during the short rains since it only takes three months to mature. Maturing even a month faster than competing varieties makes a world of difference in savings for farmers. Other than two sites in Kisumu, the new rice has also been tested  in Hola, Malindi, Mwea and Siaya and found to have the desired qualities. The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) results for the first national trial done last year were successful whereas the second trial results are  being awaited. The law requires that two trials are done. Once the regulator, Kephis, gives the greenlight, the crops will be named and seeds will be distributed to farmers. “We are producing foundation seeds which will be used by farmers and there is a company to multiply the seeds once we get the approvals,” said Dr Sanni. To ensure sustainability, AATF will partner with local seed companies which will produce their own seeds for sale. “We are working with seed companies. We want them to get direct access to quality seeds (male and female) and have the capacity to use them to produce their own seeds,” said Dr Sanni. The scientists are also working on producing rice hybrids that are aromatic in nature.
  • Pakistan to export hybrid rice seed to Philippines

  • Pakistan to export hybrid rice seed to Philippines
    LAHORE: Pakistan has struck an unprecedented deal with Philippines for the export of hybrid rice seed to the Southeast Asian nation, an industry official said on Thursday. “Philippines has decided to import hybrid rice seed from Pakistan because the crop raised form this variety is less labor intensive compared to Irri,  which is currently being cultivated in the Southeast Asian country,” Shahrukh Malik, executive at Guard Agricultural Research & Services told journalists in a media briefing. “For the first time in the history of the country, domestically developed hybrid seed will be traded to a foreign country. Philippines needs the seed for 2018 crop and we have already increased the production area to 900 acres to meet the demand.” He informed the journalists that Philippines have over 137,000 varieties of Irri but being a labor intensive crop, the archipelago in the southwestern Pacific is looking for a hybrid variety. “The climate in which hybrid rice seeds are bred in Sindh is similar to that of Philippines. Their experts assayed the procedure of seed production thoroughly at our farms before cutting a deal with us,” Malik disclosed. The Guard rice research executive observed the export of hybrid rice seed will be a milestone in the country’s rice sector and will open new opportunities in the international market apart from giving local research and development a fresh impetus. “We have also developed a basmati hybrid seed. The field trials are already underway. It’s expected to be commercially available by 2018,” he said.  Replying to a question, he said unfortunately lack of public private sector partnership is hindering the progress of seed development in Pakistan. “Public sector has its own inherited problems, while the private sector conducts research with commercial result-oriented focus. Thus the pace of private sector is fast compared to the public,” Malik said. He continued that there’s a yawning trust deficit between the public and private sector researchers and it needs to end through coordinative initiatives. “Due to this deficit, the authorities take too long to green-signal a newly developed seed for commercial launch, hurting private sector growth,” he asserted. Moving forward, he explained that at least 45 companies are importing hybrid seeds, including the top five firms of the world, but none of them is producing hybrid seeds in Pakistan, which is an obstacle in the transfer of technology to the country. “The government shall bind those companies to produce at least 20 percent of the total quantity of imported seeds in Pakistan,” he suggested adding it will revolutionise the seed development and agriculture sector. Summarizing the growth of the hybrid rice in Pakistan, Malik told the media that during 2008-09, area under Irri cultivation was 560,000 hectares but reduced to 423,000 hectares in 2014-15, while area under hybrid cultivation was only 84000 hectares, which increased to 302000 hectares in 2014-15. “Similarly, in 2008-09, Irri production was recorded at 19,49,000 tons but it decreased to 11,61,000 tons in 2014-15, while hybrid rice production, which stood at 4,54,000 tons in 2008-09, jumped to 14,16,000 tons during 2014-15,” he added. Continuing his talk, he said the aforementioned numbers also reflected in the exports as total quantity of the basmati rice sold overseas stood at 11,37,943 tons in 2010-11 but reduced to 676630 in 2014-15, while non-basmati export, which was logged at 25,63,664 in 2010-11, increased to 3054680 tons in 2014-15. “A substantial increase in hybrid production and exports of non-basmati rice export is encouraging for the sector,” Malik said.