PH hybrid rice milestones impress Asia-Pacific seed producers

September 27 2023, 4:30 pm

<p><em>(PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)</em></p>

(PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – A field study tour organized by over 50 member countries of the Asia-Pacific Seeds Association (APSA) left the Philippines on Sept. 23 very impressed with the country’s milestones and achievements in hybrid rice seeds production as well as the close collaboration among the sector’s stakeholders.

Dr. Frisco Malabanan, current APSA executive committee member who is with the Masagana Rice Industry Development Program, initiated the first field study tour in the Philippines. He was a former chairman of the Special Interest Group on Field Crops.

Headquartered in Bangkok, APSA is the largest regional seed association in the world with more than 600 members, according to its website.

It promotes sustainable agriculture through the development, production and trade of quality seeds within, to and from the Asia-Pacific region, and continues to maintain strong links with several key international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), CGIAR institutions, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Trade Organization.

Heidi Gallant, Executive Director of APSA, provides more insights into what the association means to its members who represent the entire spectrum of the seed industry– both the public and private sectors– including national seed associations, government agencies, public and private seed companies, and associate members, which represent organizations outside of the Asia region.

Majority of its members are seed enterprises, including breeders, producers, distributors, retailers, exporters and importers. Countries with the highest number of members are China (20 percent), India (19 percent), Pakistan (7 percent), Bangladesh (7 percent), Japan (7 percent), Thailand (4 percent), South Korea (4 percent) and Chinese Taipei (4 percent).

Of the 15 delegates who joined the just-concluded field study tour, three companies were from China and others were from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Malabanan, in a news release on Wednesday, said the APSA study tour coincided with the holding of the 16th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) of the private sector group, Rice Board, in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur. It showcased clustered demo farms of hybrid rice companies, soil nutrition and digital companies involved in the rice sector,

The delegates were impressed by how the Philippines could pool all seed production companies in one site during the NRTF tour in Davao Sur, which Malabanan said was a result of the close collaboration between government and private companies.

They visited the seed facilities at the site of SL Agritech in Lupon Davao Oriental and had a whole day visit to the farms of SL Agritech, Tao Seeds, Longping and BioSeeds where they saw the actual parental lines of the seed companies in their flowering stages.

On Sept 19, they participated in the 16th NRTF forum in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur where they witnessed 18 companies of currently standing palay crops (both hybrid and inbred) as well as soil enrichment producers and a company that promotes drones for direct seeding of palay seeds, fertilizers and pesticide application.

On the same day, they visited the farms of commercial seed companies, Bayer Crop Science and SL Agritech in Barangay Ruparan, Digos City and in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur, and the hybrid corn farms in Kapaling, Davao del Norte and Tagum of Bayer Science and Syngenta Phils.

The participants also visited a learning site by Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Training Institution showcasing integrated farming system– high value crops, poultry and dairy farm– as part of the farm diversification to further increase farmers’ incomes. (DA PR)