Submarine Rice Offer Hope Amidst Philippine Floods
Tech & Pharma
August 20, 2012
Amidst horrendous flooding in major rice-growing areas in the Philippines, researchers have unveiled a new rice variety that can survive around two weeks of being under water.
AsianScientist (Aug. 20, 2012) – Amidst horrendous flooding around Manila and major rice-growing areas across Luzon in the Philippines, some good news has emerged for rice farmers: Submarino rice – rice that can survive around two weeks of being under water.
Rice is unique because it can grow well in wet conditions where other crops cannot, but if it is covered with water completely it can die, leaving flooded farmers bereft of income.
Submarino rice was bred by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and can survive floods if they occur before flowering. The latest Submarino variety was released in the Philippines in 2009 and disseminated and promoted by the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to help rice farmers in times of floods and typhoons.
Time-lapse video shows flood tolerance in rice (40 seconds):
“IRRI is one of our partner agencies that studies and promotes the propagation of Submarino rice varieties that can recover even after being submerged for 14 days,” said the Philippine Secretary of Agriculture, Proceso Alcala.
Since its release, Submarino rice has been widely adopted by rice farmers across the Philippines, through efforts by the DA and its agencies. Strategies have included involving farmers in early field trials and seed multiplication efforts across the country alongside information, education, extension, and communication campaigns and materials.
“By planting Submarino rice, farmers have a fighting chance to outlast most rains and floods that unfortunately beset the country,” said IRRI Deputy Director General for Communications and Partnerships, Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino.
The Submarino rice varieties currently available in the Philippines include Submarino 1 (NSIC Rc194, released 2009) and Sacobia (PSB Rc68, released 1997). Small “starter seed” packs are available from PhilRice and IRRI, according to the IRRI website.
To help others in the community affected by the recent floods, IRRI is also coordinating donations from its staff to give to people in affected areas in the communities of Los Baños and Bay around IRRI headquarters.
Source: IRRI; Photo: IRRI Images/Flickr.
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