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Friday, March 1, 2024

Businessman launches hybrid rice revolution

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SL Agritech Corp. launched Rice Revolution, a campaign dedicated to exploring how hybrid rice can be a sustainable choice for the Philippines.

Rice Revolution is SLAC’s effort in gearing farmers to convert from inbred to hybrid seeds as a solution to the challenge of attaining rice self-sufficiency and increasing rice yields in limited space.

SL Agritech Corp. chairman Henry Lim

“A rice revolution is just what we need. If we use hybrid, we can be competitive and self-sufficient in terms of rice production. We won’t have to import rice in the days to come,” said SLAC chairman Henry Lim.

Lim, dubbed the ‘father of Philippine hybrid rice,’ developed the first hybrid rice variety in the Philippines, SL-8H. He is coming forward to share his knowledge and expertise to Filipino farmers to grow nutritious rice varieties and help generate adequate rice supply.

“Hybrid rice farming is key to creating a strong agricultural sector. Even for the same amount of fertilizer, hybrid rice seeds can yield more compared to inbred. And because hybrid seeds are deeply rooted in the soil, they are more resilient during floods allowing farmers to grow rice seeds during dry and wet seasons and earn more while producing high-quality rice for consumers,” said Lim.

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While it requires greater attention, a key advantage of hybrid rice farming is that it uses 15 to 18 kilograms of seeds per hectare and 60 percent less water compared to traditional rice varieties that use 80 to 120 kg of seeds per hectare and 5,000 liters of water per kilo produced.

“The revolution already began changing the rural landscape in Central Luzon and it needs to keep going if we really want to be self-sufficient,” said Lim.

SLAC is working in collaboration with entities from neighboring Asian countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea and also began exporting rice seeds to the United States and the Middle East.

SLAC is also the country’s pioneer in hybrid rice research and development, producing the popular hybrid rice seed SL-8H, which has helped uplift the lives of many Filipino farmers through higher rice yield. 

It produces the Dona Maria premium rice varieties Miponica and Jasponica. 

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