U.S. Observes Rice Science For Climate Change
US Secretary Thomas James Vilsack of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, and their delegation were briefed on how rice science can work in ensuring rice supply even in changing climatic conditions. Their visit at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on October 25 is part of the 5-day USDA Trade and Investment Mission in the Philippines.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler, and PhilRice Executive Director Ronilo Beronio and their respective staff members received the US officials.
The US officials observed rice research prospects in climate change scenarios. IRRI and PhilRice presented four major research areas for climate change that they have mapped-out. The two institutes hope to jointly scale up their progress made in climate change adaptation and mitigation for greater impact.
First major work area presented is the development of high-yielding rice varieties adapted to specific environments, and have tolerance to water-stresses such as drought and submergence.
For instance, one progress for scaling up is the IRRI-bred Submarino 1 or NSIC Rc194 with submergence tolerance gene. This variety can survive, grow and develop even after to days of complete submergence at vegetative stage. Under submerged conditions, it yields 2.5 t/ha and matures in 125 days. While in normal conditions, it yields 3.5 t/ha and matures in 112 days. NSIC Rc194 was approved by the National Seed Industry Council for planting in flood-prone areas as recommended by PhilRice based on its site tests and evaluation.
Second area is the education and training of rice farmers, extension workers, and scientists to cope with climate change adaptation and mitigation. Third is developing the Philippines’ digital information gateway to serve as crop monitoring and forecasting platform, and for planning and policy decisions, among others. Fourth is developing a climate change strategy for rice in the Philippines, with international applicability.