LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—One of the leading hybrid rice seed producers in the Philippines, SL Agritech Corporation, signed an agreement at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on May 3 to join the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC).

According to HRDC coordinator and hybrid rice breeder Dr. Jauhar Ali, as an HRDC member, SL Agritech Corporation will have access to IRRI’s recommended hybrid rice varieties and parental lines for testing.

“We are happy to join HRDC. There is no doubt, of course, that IRRI is the world authority in rice,” shared Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, chairman and CEO of SL Agritech Corporation. “Although we have our own research and development team, it will be great to compare what IRRI is doing and what we are doing. Through this, we will
be able to speed up the development of hybrid rice varieties,” he added.

“I’m sure the sharing of knowledge and experiences will be really helpful for the consumers,” noted IRRI’s director for external relations, Dr. Corinta Guerta.

Originally established in the Philippines, SL Agritech Corporation now operates in three other countries: Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The company has also started operating in Myanmar and India. However, the corporation is not all about profit. “Our company works hard to support organizations that help farmers,” said Dr. Frisco Malabanan, senior technical and promotion consultant of SL Agritech.

Last year, the company pioneered a rice bucket challenge, during which Dr. Liong gave 5,000 buckets of rice to 5,000 poor families in the drought-stricken areas of Mindanao and challenged big business owners and even celebrities to do the same. “We have a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) component in our programs and that’s one of the reasons I joined SL Agritech,” said Dr. Malabanan.

Learn more about IRRI’s work on hybrid rice.

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