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Only a minority of farmers prefer hybrid rice seed

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rice farmers
PHILSTAR

MOST rice farmers in the Philippines still prefer inbred seed instead of hybrid varieties despite the latter’s higher yields, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said.

In a briefing, IRRI Plant Breeding Rice Breeding Platform Senior Scientist II Arvind Kumar said that in the Philippines, 90% of agricultural lands are planted to inbred seed, and only 10% at most are planted to hybrid varieties.

“Hybrid seed is supposed to give 10% or 15% higher yields as compared to inbred seed provided that farmers have access to better practices and knowledge about how to manage the hybrid seeds,” Mr. Kumar said.

According to Mr. Kumar, cost is also a factor for farmers choosing which seed variety to plant.

“Both inbred and hybrid play [a role] in rice contribution,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Hybrid is still a bid costlier than inbred seed. The cost is an effective thing to consider which seed you select for,” according to Mr. Kumar.

According to IRRI, in choosing a rice variety, farmers consider grain quality, price at market, optimum yield potential and stability over seasons, maximum tillering capacity for weed competition, resistance or tolerance to major diseases, insects and other stresses, the right growth duration to match the season, and resistance to lodging under normal management.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumar said that IRRI continuously develops rice seed that can withstand climate change, noting that there are eight drought-tolerant rice seed varieties in the Philippines available for highland and lowland planting. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio