Rice Science to Survive with Climate Change

After the devastating typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, Rice experts the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) blame climate change.

PhilRice experts assert that strong heat is a sign of climate change. Heat affects humans, animals and crops alike, especially rice.

Studies and crop-simulation replicas explain that rice yield is expected to reduce by 10 percent to 15 percent for every 1°C increase in temperature. Heat stress is not good for the rice plant because it reduces tillering, height, number of grains and grain filling, which in the end lead to reduced yields.

The Department of Agriculture-PhilRice and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are into breeding drought, saline-prone and submergence-tolerant rice varieties.

Researchers have been conducted about the rice varieties from Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia that are heat- tolerant. Submergence breeding efforts have resulted in NSIC Rc194 (Submarino I), which can survive up to 10 days of submergence in water during its vegetative stage.

Varieties Rc 182, 184, 186, 188 and 190 are saline-tolerant. Rc192 is drought-tolerant.

Seeds of these climate change-adapted varieties are being multiplied for massive use by 2010.

Aside from these heat-tolerant varieties, research studies on varieties that require less water are also in the pipeline.

State-of-the-art technologies like geographic information system and remote sensing also help identify and map vulnerable areas like drought-prone areas in the country. Studies like these are good inputs in recommending crops that can be planted in specific areas to optimize land use.

These are some of the ways that are about to be introduced to farmers to lessen the effect this climate change. In addition, present technologies will be reviewed to come up with a holistic approach on how to cushion the effects of climate change. [via businessmirror.com.ph]