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Thursday, October 27, 2011

China to help Filipino farmers increase productivity

The People’s Republic of China will help increase the productivity of Filipino farmers for the next five years with the beginning of the second phase of its technical cooperation project this month.

The Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) project to be implemented until 2016, aims to breed new hybrids using the Philippine’s local and China’s rice germplasm and to introduce China’s hybrid rice varieties in the country.

PhilSCAT, hosted in Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija, will also introduce farm machineries to the Filipino farmers.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will help in testing the field performance of the introduced China’s hybrids, according to the signed Minutes of Discussion and Implementation Plan, represented by Yuanxing Fang of China’s Yuan Longping High Tech Agriculture Co., Ltd and Dante de lima of the Philippine’s Department of Agriculture.

The second phase aiming to “sustain and continue the significant achievements in the first phase” will also include the harnessing of biogas using China-developed techniques.

Dr. Jose Falla, head of the projects’ Knowledge Management Division, said the research and development on biogas will be prioritized for farmers to adopt the technology in their households.

China, a rice self-sufficient country supporting its 1.3 billion population, recently sets its third world record in rice production when Yuan Longping, the father of hybrid rice, and his team announced the 13.9 t/ha harvest of a new “super hybrid rice” in Longhui Country in Hunan Province.

China daily reported that Longping’s research team first made their record in 2000 when their variety reached 10.5 t/ha and in 2004, when the new hybrid rice registered 12 t/ha.

In tropical countries like the Philippines, studies show that in tropical countries like the Philippines, hybrid rice can increase farmers’ yield by at least 15 percent over the best inbred. A maximum yield of 12 t/ha is also possible with proper management and favorable environment. Estrella Z. Gallardo, PSciJourn MegaManila

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