DAR-12 pushes climate-proof rice varieties

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 June) – In a bid to sustain Region 12’s surplus rice production, agriculture experts are pushing for the adoption by local farmers of eight rice varieties that were found highly-suitable for planting within the region.

Loreto Pagarigan, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12’s research and development for rice focal person, said Wednesday they are currently promoting the utilization of rice varieties that had been tested as tolerant to the changing weather patterns and extreme climatic conditions.

“These are varieties that are tolerant to wet and dry field conditions and also resistant to some pests that usually come out in a certain period,” he said in a statement.

For irrigated areas, Pagarigan said they are mainly recommending the NSIC RC 283, which can post an average yield of 6.4 metric tons (MT) per hectare, grow up to 104 centimeters (cm) and mature in 110 days.

NSIC stands for the National Seed Industry Council, which replaced the Philippine Seed Board based on the provisions of Republic Act 7308 or the Seed Industry Development Act.

Aside from NSIC RC 283, he said local farmers may use NSIC RC 240, which can grow up to 107 cm and post an average yield of 6.4 MT per hectare.

For lowland rice areas, Pagarigan said the suitable varieties are NSIC RC 222, NSIC RC 226, NSIC RC 158 and NSIC RC 224.

Farmers in rainfed areas may utilize NSIC RC 192 and NSIC RC 222, which are both highly-recommended as they are considered as drought-resistant and could post a production record of 3.4 MT per hectare, he said.

For those in upland areas, Pagarigan recommended the planting of the dinorado and azucena rice varieties.

With the ongoing rainy season expected to intensify in the coming weeks, he advised farmers to adopt appropriate rice varieties that could withstand the impact of heavy rains.

“Before selecting the rice variety to plant, a farmer must ensure that they are resistant to pests and only grows short enough to avoid being easily blown away by rains,” he said.

He said they should also consider varieties that mature early or in a shorter period.

Gilbert Romares, research specialist of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Southwestern Mindanao, reminded farmers to select the rice varieties which are already “tested and proven” in their respective areas.

He said PhilRice had conducted various field research studies for the eight rice varieties in various parts of the region.

Romares said the recommended seeds are now available at the PhilRice center in Midsayap, North Cotabato.