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Agriculture and Mining

PHL to plant Basmati rice for export

April 24, 2012 6:57pm

Tags: irri
The Department of Agriculture will soon start experimenting on how to produce Basmati rice in farmlands all over the country, the department said Tuesday. Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has already endorsed the program to the National Rice Program for regional evaluation and on-farm production of three Basmati rice varieties.
With Alcala’s endorsement, the DA can now undertake large-scale Basmati rice evaluation in regional experimental stations and in farms of interested farmer organizations and irrigators’ associations.
The regional evaluation system, created by Philippine Rice Institute pioneer and current technical adviser Dr. Santiago R. Obien, shall try out the Basmati 370, 385 and CLS-1 varieties initially tested at Central Luzon State University and at the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
The first component involves evaluation and demonstration of the varieties at one hectare per variety in the different regional field units. Guidelines on seed utilization, planting methods, fertilizer application, and gathering of data have already been laid out.
“The evaluation plots shall serve as demonstration farms for farmers who may be willing to be trained on the delicate techniques of Basmati rice production,” Obien said.
The second component involves the commercial production of Basmati 370 by organized farmers that include irrigation associations and farmer cooperatives.
The program is in keeping with agriculture and fisheries agreements between the Philippines and the governments of Kuwait and Qatar on March 25.
“We have talked to Qatar and Kuwait and they are willing to accept Basmati rice that we will plant,” Alcala said in a recent media interview.
Basmati rice has vast export potential because it is preferred in Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar, Rice Program director Dante de Lima said.
Basmati is a special, long grain, high quality, and aromatic rice variety that sell at a premium in the local and international markets. It has generally lower yield compared to current inbred and hybrid indica rice varieties.
De Lima said that the country has at least three Basmati rice varieties, two introduced and one bred locally, that have yielded higher under tropical conditions when compared to those grown in India and Pakistan, where the varieties originated. —With Jon Lindley Agustin/VS, GMA News
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