PhilRice develops technologies, farm practices to mitigate climate change

April 26, 2013 10:25 pm 

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija, April 26 — The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), together with its partners, is aggressively pursuing the development of technologies and farm practices that aim to mitigate climate change.

Dr. Ricardo Orge, director of PhilRice’s Climate Change Center, cited the need to help farmers adapt to climate change and ensure the country's rice supply.

Changing climate has adverse effects and impacts on rice production such as shifted crop growing period and reduced crop yields, Orge said.

Studies show that increasing temperature may cause more than 30 percent production losses in rice farming communities that are unable to cope with pervasive heat.

In response to this, he said they have started developing rice varieties that can tolerate temperatures up to 400C.

Likewise, he said the PhilRice is evaluating released varieties, breeding lines, and traditional varieties to develop or recommend varieties suited for drought-prone areas.

"We also optimize biotechnology tools to develop heat- and submergence-tolerant varieties," he said.

At present, he said PhilRice has developed varieties for saline prone areas: NSIC Rc184 (Salinas 2), Rc186 (Salinas 3), Rc188 (Salinas 4), and Rc190 (Salinas 5).

With a potential yield of about 4-6t/ha, the varieties have also good milling recovery and good eating quality.

He said PhilRice has also helped breed NSIC Rc194 (Submarino 1), a variety that can survive, grow, and develop even after 10 days of complete submergence at vegetative stage.

He also said that the potentials rice production technologies such as PalayCheck, alternate wetting and drying technology, specific site nutrient management, and minus-one element technique in reducing methane emission are being studied.

No-tillage technology is also being pilot-tested not only to help mitigate climate change but also to reduce land preparation costs.

Meanwhile, Karen Cardenas, GMA Network’s editorial consultant for Science and Weather, has called on local government units (LGUs) to support PhilRice in promoting its technologies to the farmers.

“I see good technologies that could help mitigate climate change while touring around the PhilRice’s experimental fields. I hope that farmers will learn more of these technologies through the LGUs across the country,” she said.

Cardenas, speaking before a thousand farmers during the recent Lakbay-Palay, said that government support in PhilRice’s researches is vital in providing enough rice supply.

She said that based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, "small farmers in the Southeast Asian Region are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change."

PhilRice’s first Lakbay-Palay for the year was participated by farmers from La Union, Tarlac, Pampanga, Aurora, and Bulacan. (PNA)

LAP/ZST/MEG/PS/JNC

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