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The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have been working together to breed and disseminate seeds of drought-tolerant rice varieties that can better survive the ongoing El Niño phenomenon.
“It is the poor farmers who suffer the most from the effects of climate change,” said Dr. Bruce Tolentino, IRRI’s deputy director general for communication and partnerships. “This is why IRRI has been working hard to develop climate change-ready rice varieties that can withstand extreme climatic conditions such as droughts, floods, heat, and cold, and soil problems such as high salt and iron content.”
Rice farmers who are currently struggling with the effects of El Niño are particularly interested in drought-tolerant rice varieties. The ongoing El Niño is expected to cause much lower rainfall in the first half of 2016 throughout South and Southeast Asia, which includes the major rice-growing countries.
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“We have provided PhilRice with the foundation germplasm for climate change-ready rice,” Tolentino said. “DA-PhilRice is multiplying these seeds for distribution to farmers who need them the most.”
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