Philippine-based rice research company SL Agritech Corp. on Wednesday signed a collaboration agreement with Bangladesh firm EnP Solutions Ltd. for the seed production of SL-18H variety of hybrid rice.
SL-18H is a high-yielding rice hybrid which could withstand both dry and wet climate.
Under the agreement, SL Agritech will sell 20 to 50 tons of SL-18H hybrid rice seedlings to EnP Solutions annually. This will cover 5 to 10 hectares of rice fields.
“We are going to start around 5 to 10 hectares, but definitely after three years, this will go up to 200 (or) 300 tons per hectares,” said Henry Lim, president of SL Agritech Corp.
With 163-million population and decreasing scope of arable land, the rice hybrid is expected to increase Bangladesh’s rice production.
“Every year, we are losing our arable land to the demographic pressure in terms of navigation, schooling, housing, infrastructure. So, for Bangladesh, we don’t have alternative other than hybrid production,” said Syed Mahmudul Hug, president of EnP Solutions.
“We are almost self-sufficient in food. But, Bangladesh, just like Philippines is subject to natural calamities and when we have drought or floods then we lose our standing crop and we go for imports,” Hug added.
Bangladesh Ambassador Asad Alam Siam said the technology transfer is a good partnership between the two countries in ensuring food security.
“It’s a completely win-win suggestion. It’s a symbiotic relationship of two countries,” said Ambassador Siam.
“We are a small country with big population. Our farming land is shrinking while population is increasing.”
Aside from Bangladesh, SL Agritech has been conducting tests of hybrid rice in Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Indonesia, Somalia, and India.
“While other countries are benefiting from the technology that we are doing, hopefully with this administration, we can further the propagation of rice hybrid (in the Philippines),” said Lim.
The Department of Agriculture has earlier announce its target to have 1-million hectare of land dedicated for hybrid rice to attain rice self-sufficiency.
Once the Philippines attains this, Lim believes the country would also be able to export rice.
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