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mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2008, 11:37:21 AM »
IRRI chief volunteers to be human guinea pig for GM rice
By Jose Katigbak STAR Washington Bureau Updated November 08, 2008 12:00 AM 


WASHINGTON – International Rice Research Institute chief Dr. Robert Zeigler has said he will be the first to eat genetically modified (GM) “golden” rice when the IRRI introduces it in the Philippines in 2012 to show Filipinos it is both safe for human consumption and nutritious.

IRRI scientists over the past 10 years have been investigating and field testing the safety of this GM rice invented by a Swiss plant biologist which contains beta-carotene.

It is called “golden” because the inserted beta-carotene turns the rice grains a golden yellow color. In a typical serving, golden rice can supply 10 percent of a person’s daily requirement of Vitamin A.

Zeigler expects the price of golden rice to be slightly cheaper than ordinary rice but more important, he said, it will fill the nutritional needs especially of the poor.

“Many of the consequences of poverty are malnutrition, because if people are too poor to buy fruits and vegetables then they don’t get their vitamins. If we can supply that with rice that would be good,” he said.

He said the IRRI was working with the Philippine government to make sure all regulations are complied with.

“The Philippines has a very good regulatory framework; it is the most advanced in Asia and I would say we are complying with that very closely,” he said at a presentation organized in Washington by Asia Society.

Zeigler said another variety of rice transformed with insecticidal genes from Bacillus thuringiensis and known as BT rice will also likely be approved for human consumption by 2012 if not earlier.

BT rice is insect resistant and on average yields about 500 kilos more per hectare of land. It is undergoing field trials in a number of countries including China and India, he said.

“Farmers will not need to apply any insecticide on BT rice so cost of production will be less, the negative impact of improper insecticide use on the environment will be less, the impact on farmers’ health will be better and yield will be a bit more,” he said.





mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2009, 10:14:17 AM »
 
At the onset of the year, the Los Baños-based International Rice Research Institute issued an ominous warning that world prices of rice would “likely rise sharply.” The institute acknowledged that prices of the staple cereal have gone down dramatically from their peak in 2008 but the global financial crunch has made it difficult for farmers to secure credit for seeds, fertilizer and other essential farm inputs.

Amid this gloomy forecast, it is a source of comfort that rice is not only in abundant supply in the country but prices of rice varieties that the ordinary families usually buy are affordable. As confirmed by the IRRI and reported by the Agriculture Department’s Bureau of Agriculture Statistics, domestic rates have actually fallen further at the close of the main harvest season. Rice is being sold in Metro Manila markets at an average price of P30 per kilo and the price dropped to as low as P23 per kilo in certain outlets in November.

Fortunately, concrete and timely measures were put in place by the national leadership and agriculture officials to address the problem. Because of these, it may not be whimsical to hope the nation will be spared of the looming jump in global rice prices.

As early as April last year, the government organized a National Food Summit to beef up production and stabilize the prices of rice, corn, and other farm products. Pursuant to the recommendations of the summit, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap swiftly launched  a five-year rice sufficiency program—with the help of experts, including seven former heads of the Agriculture Department and two ex-administrators of the National Food Authority—and jumpstarted the department’s intervention programs to boost yields and stabilize supply.

Being implemented by the department is a program to expand the areas planted to palay by 7.5 percent to 2.58 million hectares during the wet season. This has boosted hopes to meet its revised 2008 harvest volume of 16.7 million metric tons, or 9.2 million cavans more than the 2007 output.

Next, Yap zeroed in on the problem of steep cost of fertilizer which has led to a 30- percent decline in usage among palay farmers.  After the period of high crude oil prices ended, he carried out President Arroyo’s order to see to it that the downward spiral of fuel prices in the world market is reflected in the farm sector by a corresponding decrease in the market rates of petrochemical fertilizers. He directed the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority to keep a tight watch on the possible price-manipulation activities of certain traders and appealed to fertilizer producers and supplies to reduce their retail prices.

As a result of this initiative, prices of chemical-based fertilizers went down in December by more than half of the prevailing rates in September.  For instance, the price of triple 14 fell 40.7 percent, or from P1,940 to P1,150 per bag. While 21-0-0 brand dropped 53 percent from P1,065 to only P499 per bag. The sharp decrease in fertilizer cost came at a providential time when farmers were starting to plant for the coming summer or dry cropping season.

But if there was a government action that heartened the farmers most, it was most likely the President’s order to the National Food Authority to double its domestic procurement of palay. This means that from the original volume of 500,000 metric tons, the NFA is now buying one million MT from local farmers. Yap reported that the government’s procurement of locally produced rice climbed from 33,000 MT in 2007 to 650,000 MT last year, the highest since l979.  This is an unprecedented boon to farmers because they can now more easily sell their rice harvest and convert the fruits of their labor into cash. Gone were the days when they always faced the dilemma of disposing their rice stock and wrest for months with storage problems.

The increased domestic procurement complements an earlier government move to raise the buying price of palay from below P10 to P17 per kilo. This approach is very beneficial to the economy especially because government spending for rice importation can be significantly reduced. As Secretary Yap always says, every ton of local palay bought by the government helps lower the level of imports.

As the linchpin of the aggressive procurement and distribution strategy, the NFA last year beefed up its inventories with imports and then flooded the market with cheap rice stocks costing P18.25 per kilo. These were sold to the “poorest of the poor” families in partnership with local government units, Church-based groups like the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action and the Social Welfare Department.

The DA-DFA also sold rice at P25 and P35 for middle-income consumers, kept tabs on rice millers and grains traders, and ran after hoarders and profiteers. This enabled them to pull down prices to P32 at the start of the lean season from a range of P40 to P50 during the height of the global grains crisis last summer.  Proof of the successful supply and price stabilization effort last year was that rice was even more expensive at that time in Thailand and Vietnam where the per-kilo rates reached an equivalent of P56 and P67, respectively.

Likewise, big rice millers were persuaded to agree to unload rice stocks from their warehouses and pare down their prices in exchange for a lower volume of rice that the NFA has been selling in the market in competition with traders.

At the same time, Malacañang issued a directive encouraging large firms to go into corporate farming by producing or importing the rice requirements of their employees, and another one relaxing the rural credit squeeze by setting up an Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool with contributions from government financial institutions.  To date, the Guarantee Fund deposited with the Land Bank stands at more than P4 billion and is being used to infuse more credit to agricultural stakeholders through rural, cooperative and thrift banks and irrigators’ associations.

To sustain the gains in the food production and security program, Secretary Yap says his department is backing the enactment by Congress of at least eight farm-friendly measures. One of these bills will amend the Agri-Agra Law (Presidential Decree 717) to free billions of pesos available from commercial banking institutions to develop the agriculture sector and raise incomes for its small direct stakeholders. It seeks to remove the provision of the law allowing banks to invest in government securities as alternative compliance with the law, and specifies those who may have access to credit to ensure that small farmers and fisherfolk are given priority by these credit sources.

The department is also lobbying for the approval of the long-pending legislation that will spell out a national land use policy to regulate the conversion of farmlands for non-food uses.

Other proposals that the DA is supporting are the extension of the comprehensive agrarian reform program, creation of the Office of Trade Representative to unify the government’s fragmented approach to trade and promoting a Green Philippines and the financial and corporate restructuring of the NFA to bankroll a multibillion-peso national grains highway that would further boost farm production and raise rural income.





mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2009, 10:17:47 AM »
New, higher-yielding rice plant could ease threat of hunger for poor       
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 
Global consortium of scientists developing rice that would boost yields by up to 50 % for smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia

Los Baños, Philippines – An ambitious project to re-engineer photosynthesis in rice, led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) through a global consortium of scientists, has received a grant of US$11 million over 3 years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a result of research being conducted by this group, rice plants that can produce 50% more grain using less fertilizer and less water are a step closer to reality.

Currently, more than a billion people worldwide live on less than a dollar a day and nearly one billion live in hunger. Over the next 50 years, the population of the world will increase by about 50% and water scarcity will grow. About half of the world’s population consumes rice as a staple cereal, so boosting its productivity is crucial to achieving long-term food security. IRRI is leading the effort to achieve a major increase in global rice production by using modern molecular tools to develop a more efficient and higher-yielding form of rice.

Photosynthesis, the process by which plants use solar energy to capture carbon dioxide and convert it into the carbohydrates required for growth, is not the same for all plants. Some species, including rice, have a mode of photosynthesis (known as C3) in which the capture of carbon dioxide is relatively inefficient. Other plants, such as maize and sorghum, have evolved a much more efficient form of photosynthesis known as C4.

According to IRRI scientist and project leader John Sheehy, in tropical climates the efficiency of solar energy conversion of crops using so-called C4 photosynthesis is about 50% higher than that of C3 crops. Given the demands from an increasing population, combined with less available land and water, adequate future supplies of rice will need to come in large part through substantial yield boosts and more efficient use of crop inputs.

“Converting the photosynthesis of rice from the less-efficient C3 form to the C4 form would increase yields by 50%,” said Dr. Sheehy, adding that C4 rice would also use water twice as efficiently. In developing tropical countries, where billions of poor people rely on rice as their staple food, “The benefits of such an improvement in the face of increasing world population, increasing food prices, and decreasing natural resources would be immense,” he said.

“This is a long-term, complex project that will take a decade or more to complete,” said Dr. Sheehy. “The result of this strategic research has the potential to benefit billions of poor people.”

The C4 Rice Consortium combines the strengths of a range of partners, including molecular biologists, geneticists, physiologists, biochemists, and mathematicians, representing leading research organizations worldwide. Members include Yale, Cornell, Florida, and Washington State universities in the United States; Oxford, Cambridge, Dundee, Nottingham, and Sheffield universities in Britain; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian National University, and James Cook University in Australia; Heinrich Heine University and the Institute for Biology in Germany; Jiangsu Academy in China; the University of Toronto in Canada; and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


# # #

About the International Rice Research Institute
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines, with offices in 13 other countries, IRRI is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers supported, in part, by members of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR; www.cgiar.org) and a range of other funding agencies.

# # #

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people, especially those with the fewest resources, have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

 

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2009, 03:43:56 AM »
 The global food crisis
Manila strikes secretive rice deal with Hanoi
By Javier Blas in London, Tim Johnston in Bangkok and Roel Landingin in Manila

Published: January 14 2009 17:02 | Last updated: January 14 2009 17:02

The Philippines, the world’s largest importer of rice, is on track to secure most of its needs for this year through a large and secretive government-to-government deal with Vietnam, bypassing the international market, traders said on Wednesday.

The south-east Asian country has already bought 500,000 tonnes of the grain from Vietnam’s state exporter, and is in talks with Hanoi to acquire a further 1m-1.5m tonnes, traders said. Both governments would not confirm the contracts.

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Manila can resist crisis, says Arroyo - Dec-04Careers Asia: No respite for Manila’s call centre recruiters - Nov-20World View: San Miguel sets course - Nov-03Philippine shares suffer record drop - Oct-28Identity error led to Manila gaffe - Oct-21Philippine claim highlights lack of unity - Oct-15The deal, which would meet the bulk of Manila’s rice needs this year of about 2m tonnes, signals a move among food-deficit countries to source supplies through diplomatic rather than commercial channels, in order to prevent price spikes.

Manila’s rush last year to secure rice through large commercial tenders was seen as one reason behind the jump in rice prices to an all-time high of $1,100 a tonne for Thai medium-quality rice, the world’s benchmark, up from $350 (€266, £241) in 2007.

The move is also a response to some exporting countries restricting their commercial overseas sales. India, the world’s third largest rice exporter, has yet to restart its commercial sales as it tries to keep its domestic market well supplied, but it is selling on a government-to-government basis.

Samarendu Mohanty, a senior economist at the International Rice Research Institute, said that although such deals were not new, it was a trend he expected to see more of. “Rice is a political commodity,” he said. “For sensitive commodities like this, these sorts of deals are very much on the rise.”

Ben Savage, of London-based rice brokers Jackson Son & Co, said the 500,000- tonne deal was for “25 per cent broken Vietnamese rice” – a popular variety – and it was sealed at $420 a tonne, including freight.

“It is a government-to-government deal which has been under negotiation for a long time,” he said, adding that there were talks for a further 1m-1.5m tonnes, but so far the deal and the prices had not been sealed.

While tight-lipped about the deal with Vietnam, a spokesman for Philippines’ National Food Authority (NFA) said the government was keen to buy rice through quiet negotiations with state trading organisations rather than through public tenders.

“We will import quietly, perhaps not through open bidding but through a government-to-government [negotiation], so we won’t give suppliers an excuse to drive up prices,” said Rex Estoperez, NFA spokesman.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said it was advising Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, to follow a similar route to offload its large rice stocks.

Thailand’s government will buy about 10m tonnes of rice from the country’s farmers this year in an effort to stabilise prices. Instead of reselling the rice on the market, Mr Chookiat said Bangkok should talk directly to foreign governments.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009


mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2009, 10:48:47 AM »
Rice Demand Growth May Top Expansion in Output Amid Recession
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By Luzi Ann Javier

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Global demand growth for rice may exceed the expansion in output this year as the recession forces people to eat more grains in place of meat and farmers struggle to secure loans as banks hoard capital, a research official said.

The pressure on supply may drive up prices for rice, a staple for as many as three billion people, Robert Ziegler, director-general of the International Rice Research Institute, said in an interview yesterday in Los Banos, south of Manila.

“You can have an upward demand pressure on rice,” he said. “If our demand continues to be at or slightly higher than our yield growth, we’re going to have problems.”

The global credit crunch has made it more difficult for farmers to secure financing, curbing productivity. Rice yields dropped in Indonesia, the world’s third-largest producer, just as the Asian financial crisis erupted in 1997, Ziegler said.

“It’s a real-life example of what happened in a financial crisis,” he said. “It’s almost counter-intuitive that a slowing economy can drive demand.”

The price of rice reached a record $25.07 per 100 pounds in April last year as Vietnam, India and Egypt restricted exports to bolster domestic supplies. The gains stoked inflation and sparked riots from Asia to the Caribbean. Futures have dropped more than half from the peak as the world economy tipped into recession, cooling demand for commodities, including grains.

Still, supplies of rice have been increasing in producing countries as farmers increased planting in response to last year’s prices.

Food Emergencies

World paddy-rice output in the 2008 season may total 683.2 million tons, 18 million tons more than estimated in July, helping to lift global stocks to a seven-year peak, the Food and Agriculture Organization said Feb. 25. Even so, the FAO lists 32 countries that are still facing food emergencies.

Policy makers may have been “distracted” by the current financial crisis and the “structural problems” that led to last year’s food crisis may remain unsolved, Ziegler said.

“We should be prudently cautious and recognize that last year was a wake-up call,” he said. “We can’t just turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. We have got to get up, get dressed and do the job.”

To contact the reporter for this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net


mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2009, 08:10:33 AM »
RP expected to import 2M tons of rice in 2010       
Agri-Commodities 
Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter     
Thursday, 08 October 2009 20:33 
AS the rice sector bore the brunt of the two recent supertyphoons, the Philippines sees rice imports to reach 2 million metric tons (MMT) in 2010 to beef up local stocks and plug the expected shortfall in production this year.

Agriculture Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla also noted that the worst may not be over for the country’s rice sector, as three more typhoons could hit the Philippines before the end of the year.

“[We will import] probably around 2 MMT. We will be meeting with the Inter-Agency on Rice and Corn [IAC] this week to determine the exact volume of rice imports,” said Fondevilla at the sidelines of an agricultural trade fair which kicked off in Pasay City yesterday.

He said that, at this time, conducting a bidding is not an option and that Manila could again go the government-to-government route to procure its rice requirements.

“With [the] government-to-government [route], we could negotiate for better prices. We do not [plan] to front-load importation, unlike last year, since we have sufficient inventory,” said Fondevilla.

Manila could again source from Hanoi, as well as other countries such as Thailand. Malaysia, the Department of Agriculture (DA) official said, has also expressed interest in supplying rice to the Philippines.

The Philippines has a memorandum of agreement with Hanoi for the procurement of as much as 1.5 MMT of rice, depending on supply availability.

This year the government imported a total of 1.775 MMT, of which 1.5 MMT were procured from Vietnam. The remaining 275,00 MT were procured through separate tenders involving the private sector.

In 2008, at the height of the food crisis, the Philippines imported as much as 2.3 MMT.

Due to the extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng, as well as the incremental damages from previous storms, the DA has scaled down its paddy-rice production target to 17 MMT, from 17.48 MMT.

The DA noted that the rice subsector lost 301,580 MT of palay, which represents 4.65 percent of the national target of 6.48 MMT for October to December 2009. Losses in the rice subsector from Typhoon Pepeng, which amounts to 61,609 MT, constitutes an additional 0.95 percent in production.

Tropical Storm Ondoy’s damage to the rice subsector amounted to more than P5 billion, while the tab from Typhoon Pepeng was placed at more than P1 billion.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the government is looking at setting aside some P1.5 billion to repair damaged irrigation facilities and provide subsidies to rice and corn farmers affected by the storms.

Yap said around P900 million is needed to repair the irrigation facilities and around P600 million will be required to assist affected rice and corn farmers.

 

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2010, 11:48:37 AM »
Korea and the Philippines sow mutual benefits from 45-year partnership       
Thursday, 06 May 2010 
 

Los Baños, Philippines. Rice growers in Bohol, an island province of the Philippines, are expecting higher rice yields and income thanks to new japonica rice varieties developed in collaboration with Korea and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

04 May 2010

 

Los Baños, Philippines. Rice growers in Bohol, an island province of the Philippines, are expecting higher rice yields and income thanks to new japonica rice varieties developed in collaboration with Korea and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Early last month, as part of IRRI’s 50th anniversary celebrations and to commemorate the 45-year partnership between the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of Korea and IRRI, MS11, one of the new rice varieties, was ceremonially handed over to the Bohol Japonica Rice Growers Association by Dr. Jae-soo Kim, administrator of the RDA.

“This is our symbol of gratitude toward the International Rice Research Institute for helping Korea, through collaborative research, become self-sufficient in rice,” said Dr. Kim.

Japonica rice is a high-quality medium-grain rice that attracts a premium price in countries where it is not traditionally grown – including the Philippines. Usually it grows only in temperate climates such as those found in Korea, but Maligaya Special 11 (MS11) can grow in tropical climates.

IRRI Director General Dr. Robert Zeigler attested that “Korea, through the RDA, had remained not only a donor, but also a vital partner through the years in providing scientific support to IRRI.”

IRRI and the RDA started collaborating in 1963 by developing the indica/japonica rice variety Tong-il that can be grown in the temperate climate of Korea. Tong-il, coupled with a rapid seed multiplication program, helped Korea significantly raise rice production in the 1970s, transforming the country from a rice importer to a self-sufficient rice producer.

By 2008, MS11, the first japonica rice suited to tropical climates, was released in the Philippines, followed by its sister variety, Japonica 1, in 2009. These rice varieties outyield local tropical varieties and sell at higher prices – boosting farmers’ income.

RDA and IRRI plan to continue working together where RDA will contribute US$100,000 per year for 2010-2011, focusing on developing drought-tolerant rice using marker-assisted backcrossing, developing cultivars resistant to high temperature, and improving high-yielding Tongil-type cultivars and their adaptability to tropical regions.

RDA is also funding a $100,000 joint project that will address Asia’s impending food crisis caused by climate change and population growth. The joint project is seen to steer rice-importing countries in Asia toward self-sufficiency. “Asian countries should build an institutional model for agriculture,” said Dr. Kim. “This is the first and most important step toward achieving agricultural development.”

At the same event, RDA launched the book “Partnership for 50 Years Between IRRI and Korea,” documenting past experiences and the continuing association between the two institutions. A tree-planting was also held at IRRI, led by Dr. Zeigler, Dr. Kim, and the IRRI Board of Trustees, to symbolize the continuing relations between IRRI and Korea.

 

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2010, 06:08:03 AM »
Why does the Philippines import rice?
The Philippines is currently the largest importer of rice in the world, importing around 1.8 million tons of rice in 2008 (Source: United States Department of Agriculture). Three main factors explain why the Philippines imports rice:

Land area: The Philippines has around 300,000 square kilometers, of which around 43,000 square kilometers of harvested area are used for rice production. As most of the country is very mountainous and consists of many small islands, suitable land is limited to expand rice production into without affecting wetlands, forests, or areas producing other crops. Urban areas also continue to expand rapidly.   
Population growth: The population of the Philippines is estimated at 97 million. Its annual growth rate of around 2% – among the world’s highest – means that just to keep pace with growing demand the country would have to increase rice production and yield at rates rarely seen in history.
Infrastructure: Irrigation infrastructure is not used and maintained as efficiently as it could be, thus reducing productivity potential. Transport infrastructure, particularly good-quality roads, is lacking in the Philippines, which affects the transport of rice and hinders the rice trade.


How is IRRI helping?
IRRI is doing a whole host of research that is helping the Philippines increase its rice production. Philippine farmers eagerly adopt new technologies and varieties that have resulted in a steady increase in rice yields over the last 50 years since IRRI was established. Philippine rice yields are close to the world average and higher than in many other rice-producing countries in Asia, including Thailand and India. There is, however, still room for improvement when compared to the high rice yields of China and Vietnam.

Average rice yield in the Philippines and a selection of
other rice-growing countries (tons per hectare) (Source: FAOstats)



Research that IRRI is involved in that is helping Filipino farmers increase their rice yields includes

Developing new high-yielding rice varieties with built-in resistance to pests, diseases, and other stresses such as heat and drought.
Developing rice crop management strategies that improve nutrient-use efficiency to get the most value out of inputs and reduce wastage.
Developing climate change adaptation strategies and technologies.
Training the next generation of rice scientists and building the capacity of rice practitioners to ensure the sustainable development of the rice industry.
Rice varieties for the Philippines
Between 1966 and 2009, 457 IRRI rice breeding lines were released as 864 varieties in 78 countries and it is estimated that 60% of the world’s rice is now planted to varieties developed from IRRI breeding material. In the Philippines alone, 107 varieties are attributed to IRRI, second only to Vietnam in the uptake of IRRI varieties.

In 2009, three new varieties of IRRI-bred rice arrived in the Philippines – one variety is flood-tolerant, one is drought-tolerant, and one is salt-tolerant.

The salt-tolerant variety alone has the potential to increase rice production in the Philippines by 0.8 to 1.0 million tons per annum if widely adopted on the 400,000 hectares of coastal rice-growing land in the Philippines affected by salinity from sea water. Under high salt stress, high-yielding Philippine rice varieties typically produce less than a ton of rice per hectare. Under the same conditions, the new IRRI salt-tolerant variety can produce 2.5 to 3.5 tons of rice per hectare.

Working with the Philippine government
IRRI works with its partners in the Philippine government to deliver rice research to farmers to improve their rice yields and the environmental health of their rice farms. These partnerships greatly increase IRRI’s capacity to make a difference. We rely on national and local research and extension providers, such as PhilRice, the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture and others within the public and private sector, to help develop and facilitate the adoption of technologies that suit farmers.

IRRI also discusses with the Philippine government ways to increase rice production, improve the accessibility of affordable rice to poor rice consumers, and reduce the national trade deficit in rice. We do not advocate specific policy positions for the Philippine government to adopt because we understand that policy is developed in light of a wide range of inputs and must consider economic, social, political, and environmental issues, some of which are beyond the scope of IRRI’s expertise.


mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2010, 11:25:29 AM »
Philippines raises typhoon alert in rice areas       
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 

Reuters: The Philippines raised alerts along coastal and low-lying areas of its main island of Luzon on Tuesday as Conson, the first sizeable typhoon of the season, moved closer to rice-producing areas. Conson, a category 1 typhoon with winds of 120 kph (75 mph), was about 40 km north northeast of central Camarines Norte and moving at 22 kph westward towards Luzon's central lowlands, chief weather forecaster Prisco Nilo told a media conference. "We expect strong winds and heavy rains, especially in areas Basyang will pass through," Nilo said, using the local name for the typhoon, saying it was expected to make landfall near Aurora and Quezon provinces late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Nilo said five areas in Conson's path had been put on storm alert 3, out of a scale of 5. Another 30 provinces, including the capital Manila, were placed on lower alert levels due to expected heavy rains and strong winds. Some major rice-producing areas -- Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga and Isabela -- and wide areas of Luzon were put on either alert level 1 and 2, while the coconut-producing provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, northern Quezon, Polilio island and Aurora were on Alert 3.

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2010, 11:31:28 AM »
From genes to farmers' fields: Waterproof rice set to make waves in South Asia

 Delhi, India - "Waterproof' versions of popular varieties of rice, which can withstand 2 weeks of complete submergence, have passed tests in farmers' fields with flying colors. Several of these varieties are now close to official release by national and state seed certification agencies in Bangladesh and India, where farmers suffer major crop losses because of flooding of up to 4 million tons of rice per year. This is enough rice to feed 30 million people.

The flood-tolerant versions of the "mega-varieties" -high-yielding varieties popular with both farmers and consumers that are grown over huge areas across Asia - are effectively identical to their susceptible counterparts, but recover after severe flooding to yield well.

A 1-9 November tour of research stations and farms in Bangladesh (photo below) and India led by David Mackill (8th from left, standing on low cement wall), senior rice breeder at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), marked the successful completion of a project, From genes to farmers' fileds: enhancing and stabilizing productivity of rice in submergence-prone environments, funded for the past 5 years by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

 
Click here to watch on YouTube a ceremonial harvest of a Sub1 rice variety on the BRRI station, Rangpur, Bangladesh.

The new varieties were made possible following the identification of a single gene that is responsible for most of the submergence tolerance. Thirteen years ago, Dr. Mackill, then at the University of California (UC) at Davis, and Kenong Xu, his graduate student, pinpointed the gene in a low-yielding traditional Indian rice variety known to withstand flooding. Xu subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Pamela Ronald (7th from left, standing on low cement wall), a UC Davis professor, and they isolated the specific gene -called Sub1A-and demonstrated that it confers tolerance to normally intolerant rice plants. Dr. Ronald's team showed that the gene is switched in when the plants are submerged.

A geneticist from UC Riverside, Julia Bailey-Serres, is leading the work to determine exactly how Sub1A confers flood tolerance.

"Sub1A effectively makes the plant dormant during submergence, allowing it to conserve energy until the floodwaters reced," said Dr. Bailey-Serres.

Typically, rice plants will extend the length of their leaves and stem in an attempt to escape submergence. The Sub1A gene is an evolutionarily new gene in rice found in only a small proportion of the rice varieties originating from eastern India and Sri Lanka. The activation of this gene under submergence counteracts the escape strategy.

"This project has been a great success, not only in its results but also in the truly international collaboration that made the project possible," said Dr. Mackill, referring to the several national organizations, including the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), India's Central Rice Research Institute and Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology.

"The potential for impact is huge," he said. "In Bangladesh, for example, 20% of the rice land is flood prone and the country typically suffers several major floods each year. Submergence-tolerant varieties could make major inroads into Bangladesh's annual rice shortfall and substantially reduce its import needs."

Using modern techniques that allow breeders to do much of their work in the lab rather than the field, Dr. Mackill and his team at IRRI were able to precisely transfer Sub1A into high-yielding varieties without affecting the characteristics-such as high yield, good grain quality, and pest and disease resistance-that made the varieties popular in the first place.

"The impact is evident for farm families as well as at a national production level," said Dr. Ronald. "To be part of this project as it has moved from a lab in California to rice fields in Asia has been inspiring and underscores the power of science to improve people's lives."

Because plants developed through this "precision breeding," known as marker-assisted selection, are not genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the new Sub1 varieties are not subject to the regulatory testing that can delay release of GMOs for several years.

Once Sub1 varieties are officially released within the next 2 years, the key will be dissemination to smallholder farmers in flood-prone areas. IRRI is leading this initiative through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

# # #

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines, with offices in 13 other countries, IRRI is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies (www.cgiar.org).

# # #

For information, contact Adam Barclay, IRRI, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines;
tel +63-2-580-5600; fax: +63-2-580-5699


mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2010, 10:57:48 AM »
Pinoy savants developing
flood-tolerant rice
BY PAUL ICAMINA
Filipino scientists are developing a new rice variety that survives flashfloods, a common occurrence during typhoons, and resistant as well to common pests and diseases.

Most of the provinces where rice fields are most prone to flooding are major rice-growing areas: Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Maguindanao, Bulacan, North Cotabato , Oriental Mindoro and Ilocos Norte.

It is estimated that about 300,000 hectares of rice fields are prone to flashfloods.

Loida M. Perez and some scientists at the Philippine Rice Research Institute, in collaboration with researchers at the International Rice Research Institute, are thus looking into a new rice plant variety that is submergence-tolerant and just as robust as the most high-yielding variety now planted.

Scientists at IRRI have produced the so-called IR64-Sub1 variety that grows well in submerged rice fields. The variety, however, is susceptible to pests and diseases which are common in flooded and rain-fed areas.

"There was a need to develop other varieties with submergence tolerance where farmers can have the option of planting them in pest and disease-stricken rainfed areas," said Perez, who specializes in molecular genetics at the PhilRice Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division.

"We transferred the submergence-tolerant gene from IR64-Sub1 into PSC Rc82, a popular and high yielding local rice variety planted in irrigated areas in the country," she told Malaya Business Insight after a recent lecture on her research at the National Science and Technology Week Scientific Forum.

The PSB Rc82, released in 2000, has the highest yield among rice varieties released in the Philippines from 1991-2009, with recorded yields of more than 10 tons per hectare.

The PSB Rc82 variety has a maximum yield of 12 tons per hectare and matures in 110 days. Hopefully, a submergence tolerant rice based on the same variety will yield the same, said Perez.

New varieties will be advanced for seed production and recommended as the new and improved varieties of submergence tolerant rice.

The new varieties, she said, will benefit farmers in flashflood-prone areas.

"Rice fields, and not just residential areas, were also submerged during Ondoy and during typhoons," she said. "With global climate change, flooding and typhoons become more unpredictable."

"Growing flooding-and submergence-tolerant rice is viable and should minimize if not prevent production losses," Lopez added.

The new PSB Rc82-Sub1 variety, developed through marker assisted breeding, will be evaluated during the 2010 wet season.

Marker assisted breeding or MAB involves the use of DNA markers which are like specific landmarks of a particular gene, she said.

In MAB, plants are selected using DNA markers or landmarks. The process starts by isolating or extracting DNA from the plant (in rice, the leaf tissue is used) and use this in DNA analysis to find the desired gene.

The selected plant with the desired gene will be advanced further in the rice breeding process.

Conventional breeding takes about eight to 12 years. With MAB, this process is shortened and selection of plants is more precise, thus reducing time and resources, and bringing the technology faster to rice farmers.

Hopefully, the new submergence-tolerant rice will be available to farmers by 2011, Perez said.

"It is called precision breeding or precision agriculture," said Perez, whose research won the Best Paper award during the 24th National Rice R&D Conference last March at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2010, 12:04:01 PM »
Thailand’s rice supplies tighten
[12 November 2010] Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporter, said that output will drop because of flooding, while the Philippines, the largest buyer, said its harvest may miss a target, potentially raising import demand. Main crop, rough-rice output may decline 3.9% to 22.34 million tonnes, while second-crop production may gain 0.9% to 8.33 million tonnes, according to a statement from Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2010, 11:19:32 AM »
NFA Assures Rice Inventory Safe Despite Typhoon Juan

(October 19, 2010)

 


National Food Authority Administrator Angelito T. Banayo gave the assurance  that  the NFA has  enough food security stocks and there is no need to import rice to meet the rest of the year’s requirement.


According to Banayo, NFA’s rice inventory at present stands at 37.5 million bags sufficient for the country’s food security need for 52 days  or until the middle of December.


He noted that while it could be expected there may be a reduced palay procurement from the typhoon affected areas in Northern Luzon,  this could be compensated by intensive buying from other palay producing areas of the country to augment the agency’s grains inventory.


The NFA chief also allayed fears  that the damage  brought by typhoon Juan will require  the NFA to import  higher  volume  of rice  next year.


On the typhoon effect, Banayo cited that damage to standing palay crop in Isabela, Cagayan, Kalinga, Pangasinan and some towns in Nueva Ecija are still being estimated by the joint team of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and NFA personnel.


A report will consequently be issued through the DA after the final assessments have come in, he said.


The NFA will also continue to provide assistance to the affected farmers to mitigate the damage of the typhoon that include  allowing them to use at affordable cost the agency’s mechanical dryers and other post harvest facilities they may be needing.


This, Banayo said is in addition to buying their produce to the extent of the allowable grains moisture content and the storage capacity of warehouses in the area.


“We will do our best  even with limited resources  to assist our palay  farmers in Northern Luzon  and other areas   knowing that they were already  badly hit by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng  last year,” Banayo added.

He also reiterated his appeal to traders not to take advantage of affected farmers by offering them a much lower price for their palay produce.  “This is the second straight year that farmers have been badly affected  by weather upheavals,”  he noted.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2010, 10:12:47 AM »
World must act to boost rice supply
[15 November 2010] Urgent action is needed to reverse inefficient farming methods and boost the world’s supply of rice in order to prevent rising poverty and hunger, experts told the participants of the 3rd International Rice Congress 2010 in Vietnam. “Projected demand for rice will outstrip supply in the near to medium term unless something is done to reverse the current trends” of slow productivity growth and inefficient, unsustainable management of natural resources, said Robert Zeigler of the International Rice Research Institute. Rice is the staple food for about half the world’s population.

mikey

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2010, 09:28:40 AM »
Stable outlook for the price of rice
[16 November 2010] Traders expect rice prices to fluctuate between USD 500-600 a tonne next year as good harvests and decent reserve levels mitigate pressure from rising prices of other commodities. The Financial Times reported that with the price of other basic foodstuff such as wheat, corn and sugar soaring, the relatively benign outlook for rice is one of the few factors preventing a full-blown crisis.

 

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