Plant breeders missing on this?

26 June 2013

There's an interesting review of an upcoming book that that was e-mailed to us recently. The big point is that most plant breeders, like vegetable breeders, are developing varieties and hybrids that are mostly for traits like high-yielding, resistant to pests and diseases, tolerant to stresses like drought and too much water, longer shelf life, better transportability and the like.

What is missing, the book seems to emphasize is that the plant breeders have not been targeting new varieties that provide the right nutrients for the consumers' good health.

For instance, there are certain old varieties that are believed to contain more antioxidants like plants with purple fruits, leaves and grains.

True, there is this golden rice that is under field trials in the Philippines but which has been taking a very long time to be approved. What may be less controversial are conventionally-bred purple corn that are high-yielding and with other good traits.

What immediately came to our mind are high-yielding colored rice to take the place of old colored varieties that have excellent eating quality but which are very low-yielding. For instance, if there is a hybrid purple rice or red rice that is as high-yielding as the SL-8H, that will greatly boost the program of Sec. Proceso Alcala to export fancy rice to the Middle East and other foreign buyers.

There are also big opportunities to produce more colored corn - either red, purple or black which are said to contain more antioxidants than the white and yellow varieties.

Right now, what is becoming popular, at least in Rizal, is the white waxy corn being distributed by East-West Seed Company. This tastes very good and is now the favorite of Rizal farmers who are producing green corn for boiling.

Maybe, if there is a purple variety that is as good-tasting and higher-yielding, the consuming public will like it also. And it will be for their own good health.
******** ****
Log on to: www.agrizaccess.com for practical farming tips, ideas and interesting agri-people. More than a thousand pageviewers visit our site everyday.