Philippines triples its rice yield in last 50 years

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Washington, Feb 20 (ANI): Reports indicate that in the last fifty years, the Philippines has more than tripled its rice yield, while the world average rice yield has increased only about 2.3 times.

Despite being criticized as a poor rice producer because of its status as the world's biggest rice importer, the Philippines has actually done remarkably well in raising its rice yields from 1.16 tons per hectare in 1960 to 3.59 tons per hectare in 2009.

In 2009, Philippine rice yields were actually lower than the previous two years due to the damage done by the tropical storms "Ondoy" and "Pepeng".

In 2007, average rice yields topped 3.8 tons per hectare and in 2008 they were 3.77 tons per hectare.

Rice yields in the Philippines are also higher than those in Thailand, the world's biggest exporter of rice, where yields over the last few years have been around 3 tons per hectare.

"The Philippines has enthusiastically taken up rice science technologies that have helped farmers dramatically increase their yields," said Dr. William Padolina, deputy director general for operations at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

"Filipino farmers have adopted more than 75 IRRI-bred high-yielding rice varieties since 1960, have greatly improved their fertilizer and pest management strategies, and are implementing water-saving technologies," he added.

According to estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average world rice yield in 1960 was 1.84 tons per hectare and in 2009 it was forecast at 4.24 tons per hectare.

Dr. Padolina acknowledges that the Philippines could improve its rice yields even more and said that he was confident that "the Philippines will continue to support rice research as a way of nsuring food security for Filipinos, to help lift local rice farmers and consumers out of poverty, and in turn improve the entire economy of the country." (ANI)

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