El Niño-ready rice recommended for farmers

Pia Ranada
The Department of Agriculture releases a list of rice varieties that can thrive during the drought

DREADED DROUGHT. Rice farmers are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of the impending El Niño

MANILA, Philippines – With El Niño fast approaching, the Department of Agriculture released a list of rice varieties that would flourish despite the prolonged drought.

The rice varieties recommended by the Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice), an agency under the DA, are divided into two kinds: drought-tolerant and early maturing.

Drought-tolerant rice thrives even with limited water supply, said PhilRice breeder Nenita Desamero.

These varieties are particularly suited for parts of the country expected to take the hardest hit from El Niño: Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Leyte, and some areas in Mindanao.

The drought-tolerant rice types for rainfed lowland farms are as follows:

  • NSIC Rc192 (Sahod Ulan 1)
  • PSB Rc14 (Rio Grande)
  • PSB Rc68 (Sacobia)
  • NSIC Rc272 (Sahod Ulan 2)
  • NSIC Rc274 (Sahod Ulan 3)
  • NSIC Rc276 (Sahod Ulan 4)
  • NSIC Rc278 (Sahod Ulan 5)
  • NSIC Rc280 (Sahod Ulan 6)
  • NSIC Rc282 (Sahod Ulan 7)
  • NSIC Rc284 (Sahod Ulan 8)
  • NSIC Rc286 (Sahod Ulan 9)
  • NSIC Rc288 (Sahod Ulan 10)
  • NSIC Rc346 (Sahod Ulan 11)
  • NSIC Rc348 (Sahod Ulan 12)

Drought-tolerant rice varieties for upland farms are as follows:

  • PSB Rc80 (Pasig)
  • PSB Rc9 (Apo)
  • PSB Rc23 (Katihan 1)

Maximizing the coming rainy season

El Niño is likely to begin in the last quarter of 2014 and last until the first quarter of 2015, according to Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Farmers are expected to bear the brunt of the impacts of the prolonged drought because many types of crops – including rice and corn – depend on consistent water supply and irrigation in order to thrive. 

But the rainy months of June to August may be a boon for rice farmers, especially if they are able to plant early maturing rice varieties. These types of rice can be planted during the wet season. Because they mature faster than other types of rice, they can be harvested before the drought.

Early maturing rice for irrigated lowland farms are:

  • PSB Rc10 (Pagsanjan)
  • PSB Rc134 (Tubigan 4)
  • PSB Rc160 (Tubigan 14)

Early maturing rice for rainfed lowland farms are:

  • NSIC Rc192 (Sahod Ulan 1)
  • PSB Rc14 (Rio Grande)
  • PSB Rc68 (Sacobia)

 These 3 also have drought-tolerant properties.

Support for farmers extended

Some of the recommended rice varieties are available at the PhilRice Business Development Division.

PhilRice said it will help farmers get access to seeds and to provide technical support and information. 

 “PhilRice is ready and united to provide the needed support to mitigate the negative impacts of this extreme climate event on the livelihood of our farmers,” said PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio Rasco Jr. – Rappler.com

For more information, contact the PhilRice Text Center at 09209111398.

Worker planting rice image from Shutterstock

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.