The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) continues to build partnerships with private sector partners to bring innovative and beneficial agricultural technologies to more and more farmers.
Hybrid rice technology has significant potential to increase rice productivity and contribute to rice self-sufficiency in the Philippines. Elite hybrid rice varieties are bred for higher yield, better grain quality, improved pest and disease resistance, and greater level of seed production, helping farmers increase yields and incomes by up to 20%.
IRRI, through the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC), see hrdc.irri.org, which it leads, plays a key role in the development of elite rice parental lines and hybrids suitable for different agro-climatic conditions. HRDC’s goal is to develop and maintain a steady supply of elite parental rice lines which caters to hybrid rice seed industry and public institutional needs. HRDC hybrids are genetically resource use-efficient with multiple tolerance for abiotic and biotic stresses, thereby reducing high dependence on chemical inputs and increasing rice yields which makes rice production more efficient, sustainable and affordable for rice consumers.
Under HRDC, seed companies are allowed to a wide, non-exclusive or limited-exclusive access to HRDC germplasm in order to accelerate the development and dissemination of new products to farmers. Access to HRDC germplasm for research and development are subject to the Standard Material Transfer Agreement, see www.fao.org/3/a-bc083e.pdf, with additional conditions as appropriate.
IRRI has entered into a seven-year Limited Exclusivity Commercial License Agreement with Tao Commodity Trader, Inc. (TCTI) to develop and promote in the Philippines the commercialization of three HRDC elite hybrids: Mestizo 71, Mestizo 77, and Mestizo 89.
Tao Corporation, a Philippines-based diversified group, is the largest supplier of molasses in the Philippines, supplying molasses to farms and feed mills to enhance the nutritional value of livestock and poultry feeds. Recently, Tao Corporation decided to diversify in the rice seed market via its subsidiary TCTI, which became a member of the IRRI-led HRDC.
Now TCTI decided to acquire a commercial license on three HRDC hybrids in the Philippine. TCTI shall work together with Aski Inc., a leading microfinance company with over 18,000 farmer-clients in the Philippines, to provide farmers with training, technologies, and financial services to help further spread the use of elite hybrid rice seeds. TCTI shall further contribute to the development of superior hybrid rice seeds as a member of HRDC.
As part of the agreement, TCTI commits its full investment towards achieving impact through scaled-up development, production and distribution of seeds, as well as meeting seed sales objectives, for each of the three elite varieties.
As per CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets for Limited Exclusivity Agreements (LEAs), the exclusivity conferred is of a limited nature, subject to exemptions for non-commercial research and breeding by public sector institutions and food security emergencies.
Royalties paid by TCTI to IRRI shall be shared with Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and with the benefit-sharing fund of the International Treaty for Plant Genetics for Food and Agriculture (see www.fao.org/3/a-i0510e.pdf.)