A new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) calls on the Government of the Philippines to abandon its support for hybrid rice and to focus on inbred varieties instead. While many other reports have reached similar conclusions, this is the first report from a centre of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to do so. Through its International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the CGIAR is one of most important promoters of hybrid rice in the Philippines and other rice growing countries. IRRI and the national agricultural rice research instittue of the Philippines, PhilRice, recently reached an agreement for the commercialization of IRRI's hybrid rice lines in the country.
"Instead of supporting the [hybrid rice programme] the government should spend its limited resources on research and development that focuses on improving the yield of inbred rice," reads the report. "Enhancing an inbred-based system that is adapted to farmers’ familiar practice of saving, reusing, and exchanging seeds would be a more responsive approach to improving productivity than promoting such costly technologies as hybrid rice, which has not yet achieved commercially viable levels."
The IFPRI report was approved by its Director General and, according to IFPRI, underwent "extensive external and internal reviews."