Chinese, Filipino agriculturists meet to discuss hybrid rice
By Armand M. Galang
The Manila Times, October 30, 2003

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ–With China’s population nearing 1.3 billion, only less than 0.1 hectare of arable land is available for each person. The figure is expected to rise to 1.6 billion in the near future and the arable land will be further reduced to about 0.07 per capita.

This according to Prof. X.L. Deng of the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development as Chinese officials and agriculturists joined their Filipino counterparts in a symposium on hybrid rice technology held at the Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) in Munoz City yesterday.

Professor Deng said that the rapid population growth has pressured China to create the “two-line hybrid rice research in 1987.” He said the project was successful and this was followed up in 1996 by a super rice-breeding program.

By 2001, China had planted hybrid rice to an accumulated area of 267 million hectares that produced 400 million tons or palay. “Thus, hybrid rice has made a great contribution to the food sufficiency efforts of China,” he added.

Professor Romy Gavino, PhilSCAT director said that in the Philippines about 40 new varieties were tested and proven beneficial last season. But he admitted farmers’ have yet to be convinced on planting hybrid rice. One reason he said is the high input required in raising the hybrids.

Municipal agriculturists and field technicians interviewed by The Manila Times said that their hybrid programs were constrained by the lack of financial back up. They said the government should pour in more funds to subsidized farmers’ inputs.

They also called for the establishment of more demonstration farms in rural areas so farmers can readily observe them.

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