Breeding for High Yielding Varieties
Breeding for high yielding varieties is the main task of PHILSURIN. Although the main goal of the program has never changed, procedures and techniques have evolved and improved over the years. We continuously seek and apply the latest technologies and tools for sugarcane breeding. PHILSURIN’s breeding station is located at Victorias City, in the province of Negros Occidental which is considered the sugar bowl of the country since almost 80% of the agricultural land is planted to sugarcane. The province has 10 operating mills.
The breeding station is composed of 16 staff with the senior plant breeder managing the station’s activities. It has 4 sections – Breeding, Pathology, Agronomy and Micropropagation laboratory. Each section is under a head with 1-2 field assistants. The breeding section handles the first 2 years of the breeding activities – from hybridization to field selection. Testing for the different ecological test areas is the responsibility of the agronomy section while disease screening and observation is under the pathology section. The micropropagation laboratory enables the rapid dissemination of disease-free new releases. It takes 7-10 years for a release to be made. The station is under the Station Manager, Ms. Rozalyn T. Luzaran.
The station has a 1,000 germplasm collection which has been accumulated since 1967 when the center had Active exchange programs with USDA, France, South Africa, Formosa, and China. Foreign varieties account for half of the collection. A duplicate germplasm collection is planted at the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), University of the Philippines at Los Banos as part of PHILSURIN’s germplasm preservation project.
The station is equipped with two bi-parental sheds, two polycross sheds, a greenhouse, two big tanks as rainwater reservoir, a photoperiod chamber, a fumigation chamber (for methyl bromide), a micropropagation laboratory, and a 15-hectare experimental field. The station also houses the MDDC facilities like the small-capacity Hot Water Treatment (HWT) tank for the production of RSD-free cane setts.
The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) is handling the quarantine activities for PHILSURIN. The quarantine facilities are located at the Los Banos Economic Garden, Laguna.