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Rice Article: Philippines  

Home-grown Japonica rice soon
By Sosimo Ma. Pablico
Manila Times, June 04, 2004

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union—Japonica rice, which used to be available only in duty-free stores, supermarkets and “special markets” at prices two to three times higher than locally produced inbred rice could get, may soon be more available in the market with the release of the first japonica rice line for commercial planting in the Philippines.

The Japonica rice line, IR68333-R-R-B-22, now called MS 11, was approved for large scale planting recently by the Rice Technical Working Group (RTWG) of the national rice research and development (R&D) network, led by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Bred by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), MS 11 is a japonica rice adapted to tropical irrigated lowland conditions, said Thelma Padolina, head of the PhilRice plant breeding division. Large scale planting of MS 11 will eventually make japonica grains more available to Filipino consumers, Padolina said.

Temperate japonicas are commonly grown in Japan, South Korea, northern China, Europe, the United States and Australia. These rice varieties are generally dwarf to semi-dwarf in size with few tillers and good grain density. The spikelets do not shatter on maturity and the grains are short and round.

In tropical Philippines, most temperate japonicas are sensitive to the duration of sunlight and heat. Most of these varieties are not adaptable to tropical conditions as shown by premature heading, stunted growth and weak vegetative plants. If they ever produce panicles, the grain yield is very low.

Thus farmers have not been advised earlier to plant this type of rice.

Japonicas have good grain characteristics that make them distinct among the cultivated rices, Pado­lina said. Their grains have perfect glossy appearance, considerable stickiness, and intermediate soft and smooth texture, which are preferred by consumers.

Realizing the value-added feature of japonica rice, PhilRice, led by Dr. Leocadio S. Sebastian, through the RTWG, added a japonica group to the national cooperative tests (NCT).

Starting in the wet season of 2001, the japonica group evaluated five PhilRice and five IRRI lines for three consecutive seasons.

Overall performance across the seasons in three test locations—Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija and Laguna—showed that IR68333-R-R-B-22 or MS 11 had a much better performance than the other lines.

IRRI-Korea collaboration produced this line in efforts to identify promising materials for tropical cultivation.

MS 11 is the result of a cross between the Jimmi­byeo and Cheol­weon 46 varieties. Jim­mibyeo is a variety released in South Korea for its high grain quality, while Cheolweon 46 has a high degree of resistance to insect pests and diseases in tropical conditions.

In the three-season multilocation trials, MS 11 had an average grain yield of 4.5 tons a hectare (t/ha). It matures early (112 days), is semi-dwarf (90 centimeters tall), and has medium productive tillers (16).

It is resistant to blast, intermediate to bacterial leaf blight and rice tungro virus, but susceptible to the stemborer and brown planthopper.

MS 11 has short and bold grains, premium milling (70.5 percent) and head rice (61.1 percent) recoveries, low amylose content (15.5 percent), and low gelatinization temperature.

Filipino participants in an eating quality test described MS 11 as creamish white, glossy, cohesive, tender, smooth and tasty. Thus, it is highly acceptable in raw and cooked forms.

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