BASF Agricultural Solutions and Seedworks Philippines, Inc. said they have entered into licensing agreements for direct-seeded rice farming methods.
“Rice is a primary source of food for us in Asia. There are an estimated 2.4 million rice growers in the Philippines, with a total acreage of 4.8 million hectares and with up to 36% of rice grown via direct seeded option versus wet paddy. Direct seeded rice uses roughly 50% less water to grow, uses less labor per day compared to wet paddy,” BASF Agricultural Solutions Asia-Pacific Senior Vice-President Simone Barg said.
The technologies include the BASF Clearfield Production System and Provisia Rice System. These are non-genetically modified (GM) crop technologies for rice production developed with traditional plant-breeding techniques.
“The innovation is best understood as an integration of seed traits and chemistry. The herbicide tolerant traits allow farmers to control a range of weeds through an easy, over-the-top application of a targeted herbicide without harming the rice crop,” they said in a joint statement.
“In addition, together they form an integrated weed management tool for farmers and offer farmers a vital tool in fighting weeds, while remaining compatible with no-till methods that help preserve topsoil,” it added.
The licensing agreement between BASF and Seedworks Philippines will also lead to the development and commercialization of new non-GM herbicide tolerant hybrid rice systems to increase both productivity and sustainability.
Seedworks Philippines President Carlos L. Saplala said that helping farmers leverage technology will not only improve their yields but also their incomes.
“We also expect that underutilized areas due to weedy rice will be better maximized through the use of this Clearfield and Provisia technology. This will also redound to helping the current administration’s objective of offering rice at a more affordable price,” he said.
According to Seedworks Philippines, agriculture is responsible for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Transplanted wet paddy rice farming is a major contributor of field emissions of methane (CH4). The water irrigated fields block oxygen from penetrating the soil, creating ideal conditions for bacteria that are responsible for emitting greenhouse gases,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson