Monday, April 28, 2008

IRRI's Submarine and Aerobic varities

The issues about rice crisis in the Philippines have been and being tackled in tri-media (radio, newspaper and TV) practically everyday. The National Food Authority (NFA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) are on the hot seats for news and projects to resolve the crisis.
I heard over the radio that the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los BaƱos, Laguna who sparked the Green Revolution in the 1960s in Asia has come out with new miracles: the submarine rice (sub1) and the aerobic rice.

SUBMARINE RICE - the “sub1” gene is wedded to the IR 64, the world’s most popular hybrid. The combination allows rice to survive complete submergence for up to 17 days as illustrated in the photo. If this experiment or technology will be a success this will be a big help to answer for the rice crisis not only in the Philippines but around the world.

AEROBIC RICE - another variety that can be grown in the mountainous areas of the Philippines is the so-called “aerobic rice.” Farmers who are troubled with their irrigation system or water requirements for their farms can plant this variety because it can be planted in soils managed under a system requiring little water but can yield 4 to 6 metric tons per hectare.

Rice crisis resulted from different issues like increasing population, water shortage, fortuitous events, pollution and others like land conversion into subdivision. May IRRI succeed in their experiments and other great rice technologies because this kind of crisis results to different negative conditions like chaos and even death to people?


aor said...

This is a relevant and timely entry.

The two given varieties are good, considering the volume of yields per hectare. These IRRI propagated-seeds, on Sub 1 actually comes from the original Philippines seeds of the BE3 varieties in the 1950s and 1960s; the AERO comes from the upland variety which is still cultivated in some Philippine upland areas up to these days. The only problems with these varieties are, they are low-yielding. Filipinos should not forget, long before the IRRI entered the Philippines, the Filipino people is already cultivating rice seeds--the most nutritional and weather resistant variety in the world.

This IRRI people together with the Marcos administration under the disguised cloak of his “Green Revolution” forcefully collected these gem of Filipino varieties and put it in the seed bank, depriving the Filipino farmers to propagate these nutritious varieties at their own will. Philippine designated government agricultural technicians became the Marcos’ accomplices in of making the deceiving the Filipino farmers of the high yielding IRRI variety for the purpose of making the Philippines a self-sustaining rice producer but it only become a total failure up to these days.

These seed-bank measures were also done by the US occupation forces in IRAQ under the Bremer administration to the Iraqi’s wheat, barley and corn varieties, and the like. Now, the Iraqis are force to cultivate the US-Rockefeller GMO seeds—this is how a simple analogy can be drawn in the Philippine agriculture.

It is undeniable that the present IRRI-variety cultivated by the Filipino farmers demands higher cost considering it needs more insecticides and more fertilizers, herbicides where in the long run, the farmers cannot afford anymore to cultivate. What will happen next is the global plan of reverting back the ownership of this riceland and other agricultural lands to industrialized and corporate farming. Filipino farmers will just become a history and a thing of the past. The next younger generation will just forget their toils and hardships. This is what happening now in South America.

If the losing NFA agency will only release to the media all the true data and status of rice in regards to Filipino consumption, it is very horrible, and maybe nobody will buy anymore the cheaper NFA-rice which is actually not fitted for human consumption and even in animals maybe. The best classified varieties which NFA bought from the farmers’ harvest in any harvest season, are the ones brought out of the country to pay the Rice-loan the country had in the past decade.

There is actually no shortage of rice. Importing of rice is already liberalized. What the Filipinos are short of is CASH. They don’t have cash to buy the bountiful foods the Filipino market can offer. The reason for these is because the government and its appointed technocrats failed to make effective plans and programs wherein the Filipinos can monetize their labor in terms of employment.

Thanks again for the entry and in making every Filipinos informed.

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