Bangladesh firm EnP Solutions Ltd and Philippines’ rice research company SL Agritech Corp signed a collaboration agreement for the seed production of SL-18H variety of hybrid rice. Under the agreement, SL Agritech will sell 20 to 50 tons of SL-18H hybrid rice seedlings to EnP Solutions annually. SL-18H is a high-yielding rice hybrid which can withstand both dry and wet climates. “We are going to start with 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.
Bangladesh with its ever increasing 163 million population and decreasing scope of arable land needs hybrid rice to increase its rice production. “Every year, we are losing our arable land to the demographic pressure in terms of navigation, schooling, housing, and 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 have to go for imports,” Hug added. Mr. Asad Alam Siam, the Bangladesh’s Ambassador, 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 Mr. Siam. “We are a small country with big population. Our farming land is shrinking while population is increasing,” he added.
SL Agritech has been conducting tests of hybrid rice in Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Indonesia, Somalia, and India besides Bangladesh. Mr. Lim revealed, “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.” Once Philippines attains its target to have 1 million hectares of land dedicated to hybrid rice set by its Department of Agriculture to attain rice self-sufficiency, Lim believes the country would also be able to export rice.