Research Breakthrough: Japonica Rice Production in the Philippines is Possible

Filipinos eat rice and the Philippines, a tropical country, is home to Indica rice. Historically, Japonica rice thrives well in temperate countries.

By Antonio G. Papa, Ph.D.

However, the researchers of the Cavite State University (CvSU) in Indang, Cavite, headed by Dr. Miriam Du-Baltazar, found that the three National Seed Industry Council’s approved Japonica rice varieties were also suited for tropical cultivation, particularly in the Philippines.

Through funding support from the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOSTPCAARRD), in cooperation with the provincial government of Cavite, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, and the local government of Maragondon, through the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist, a research project titled “On-Farm Research Trial on the Adoptability of Japonica Rice Varieties
in Cavite” was conducted and yielded positive results.

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Using three Japonica rice varieties approved by the National Seed Industry Council—NSIC Rc170 (Maligaya Special 11 or MS 11), NSIC Rc220 SR (Japonica 1), and NSIC Rc242 SR (Japonica 2)—in the trials, results showed that the yields of the newly approved Japonica varieties were comparable to those of Indica varieties which are best suited for tropical cultivation.

Results of the study showed that the yield of the three varieties during the dry season were high, ranging from 4.3 to 4.6 tons per hectare. However, only MS 11 had considerable yield during the wet season cultivation with 2.7 tons per hectare.

Results further indicate that cultivating Japonica rice in Cavite would generate increased income for lowland farmers. Of the three Japonica varieties, MS 11 gave the best profit, both as raw palay and milled rice for both seasons. Japonica 1 and Japonica 2 are preferably cultivated during the dry season. A higher income can be attained if the farmers sell their produce as milled rice rather than as raw palay. A farmer can get an annual net income of Php 113,059.22 from raw palay and Php 179,018.37 from milled rice in a one-hectare lowland farm planted to Japonica rice varieties.

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The cultural management practices for Japonica rice production are relatively similar to those of Indica rice varieties which are known to be well adopted to Philippine conditions. Likewise, Japonica rice commands a higher price than the typical Indica rice varieties because of its excellent eating quality, making it more profitable for rice farmers.

Sensory evaluation results showed that MS11 (NSIC Rc170) has no aroma, off odor, or off-taste; it is creamy, glossy, cohesive, tender, smooth, and bland, while Japonica 2 (NSIC Rc242 SR) likewise has no aroma, off odor, or off taste; it is slightly creamy, glossy, cohesive, tender, smooth, and slightly tasty.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s December 2015 issue.

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