LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—One of India’s leading vegetable seed producers is expanding its products to include hybrid rice. The company recently joined the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) that promotes innovation and access to new germplasm and information on hybrid rice technology. The membership-based organization at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) helps other organizations collaborate in the research and production of hybrid rice varieties.
“We want to have a long-term relationship with the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) because we have a lot of germplasm and the expertise is here,” noted Mr. Rajendra Krishna, a rice breeder at Kalash Seeds Pvt. Ltd. A leader in the vegetable seed industry, the company is looking at producing hybrid rice, which currently occupies only 5-10% of the Indian seed market.
“Ninety percent of the market is dominated by non-hybrid open-pollinated rice types,” shared Mr. Pravin Naphade, a senior breeder at Kalash Seeds.
Moreover, the government is encouraging Indian farmers to produce more rice through different schemes. Hybrid rice is an option being considered by rice farmers because of its ability to produce higher yield.
Kalash Seeds targets producing hybrid rice with either fine or medium-slender grains for markets in Chhatisgarh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and other southern states.
“The consortium is trying to develop good products like parental lines or even hybrids,” explained IRRI scientist Jauhar Ali, who also leads the HRDC. “We’ll put these into the HRDC members’ platform so they have an opportunity to look at these materials and take a lead in it.”
First established in 2008, the HRDC currently has 75 members from both the public and private sector, 26 of which come from India.
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