7 May 2014, Chaipattana Building, Chitralada Villa - BIOTEC-NSTDA and Phak Hai Agricultural Cooperative Ltd. presented 3 ton of Homcholasit seeds to H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to bestow on rice farmers in the flood-affected areas in Phattalung Province.
Homcholasit rice is developed by Rice Gene Discovery Unit, in collaboration with Kasetsart University and the Rice Department. It is a cross between KDML105 and IR57514, developed with qualities for flash flooding tolerance and fragrance using marker-assisted selection technique. It can survive after being submerged under the water for up to 2-3 weeks. In addition, Homcholasit rice can be planted for grains during and outside the regular cropping season, providing yield of 5.6-6 tons per hectare.
Realizing that Homcholasit is suitable for cultivation in central region, especially in the flood-prone areas, BIOTEC-NSTDA introduced the variety to farmers in the Phak Hai district of Ayutthaya Province by setting up a program to train farmers to produce Homcholasit seeds for cultivation. Phak Hai Cooperative now has its own packed Homcholasit rice under the brandname “Onwaan”. In preparation for Phak Hai farmers to turn to organic farming, BIOTEC-NSTDA is now working with the Cooperative to equip farmers with knowledge on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and the production technology of Beauveria bassiana, a fungal biopesticide to control brown plant hoppers.