ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) approved eleven new high-yielding rice varieties including seven (7) hybrid and four (4) Open-Pollinated (OP) seed for cultivation in various ecologies.

The Variety Evaluation Committee (VEC) on Rice was held here at PARC headquarters under the Chairmanship of Member Plant Sciences Division, Dr. Muhammad Shahid Masood.

In total nineteen (19) rice varieties were presented before the VEC including 14 hybrid and 5 OP varieties, out of which 11 were approved and 8 rejected due to Bacterial-Leaf-Blight (BLB) disease susceptibility and poor grain quality performance. The approved varieties have been recommended to National Seed Council.

Details show that the hybrid varieties approved by the VEC have yield potential up to 92 mound per acre whereas the OP rice varieties have potential to produce much yield than the existing IRRI-6 and KSK-133 varieties.

The OP varieties have been developed from the Green Super Rice (GSR) germ-plasm provided by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Philippines to PARC and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE).

These OP varieties have high yield potential and also submergence, salinity and water stress tolerance characters.

"With the addition of new recommended hybrids of rice in the national system of the country, it is expected that there will be a significant improvement in rice production in Pakistan," Dr. M. Shahid Masood Chairman VET said.

He appreciated role of the stakeholders for taking interest in rice research and development and working in close collaboration with the public sector.

The VEC meeting, among others, was attended by twenty technical members of the committee from National Agriculture Research System (NARS) of the country including rice breeders, agronomists, entomologists, pathologists, seed experts, policy-makers, private seed companies' representatives and provincial seed cooperation representatives.