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Hybrid rice review: Updating notions about hybrid rice

Recent research and technological advancements have significantly improved the quality and viability of hybrid rice. Still, the lack of awareness among value chain actors on these improvements threatens to impede its full potential as a climate-resilient alternative to traditional varieties. 

Characteristics like poor grain quality, lower head rice recovery percentage, chalkiness, high insect, pest, and disease-vulnerability and heavy input requirements are among these outdated notions. 

Dr. Jauhar Ali, Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) lead at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) stressed that these characteristics are slowly becoming a thing of the past. 

“Corrective research efforts toward developing market-oriented rice hybrids are being accelerated. Removing the misconceptions and apprehensions at various levels in the rice value chain is crucial to the successful promotion of superior grain quality and high-yielding hybrid rice as a critical component in ensuring global food security,” said Ali.

As of 2019, a meager 8 million hectares outside of China is being cultivated with hybrid rice. Projections indicate that this needs to reach at least 15 million hectares by 2027 in order to keep pace with the increasing demands of global rice production, especially under intensifying climate change conditions.    

Recent technologies have developed hybrids that produced 20-25% higher yields than even the best improved and high-yielding inbred varieties. Many hybrid rice varieties also offer increased resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses, and require lessened use for vital resources like agricultural land, irrigation water, chemical inputs, and labor.

“The progress we are making is but one step to successfully promoting the wide-scale adoption of hybrids. We need public and private actors to initiate complementing efforts to help drive research, policy, and market solutions and strategies toward this goal,” said Ali. 

This and more will be highlighted in a multi-stakeholder panel discussion titled “Stakeholder synergies: working together to scale up hybrid rice adoption for food security” where an experienced panel of experts will be discussing strategies and pathways for increasing  hybrid rice area, and come out with recommendations for adoption. The panelists will include, Prof. Jose Yorobe, Principal Scientist of the Socio-Economics Division of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Dr. Arun Mittal, Country Business Leader of Corteva Philippines, and Dr. Henry Lim, CEO of SL Agritech Philippines. Ali will serve as session Chair. 

This half-day deep-dive session on hybrid rice takes places on 13 November 2019, Wednesday, 14:00 - 17:00 (2-5pm) at the Rizal Ballroom, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Manila, Philippines as part of the 2019 Rice Trader (TRT) World Rice Conference

Convened by IRRI, the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) promotes innovation and access to new germplasm and information on hybrid rice technology. We are a membership-based organization that helps other organizations collaborate in the research and production of hybrid rice varieties. For partnerships, contact Dr. Jauhar Ali (