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Filipina rice breeder gets Asian award

Charlie Lagasca (The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2014 - 12:00am

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – A Filipina is set to receive an award for her outstanding contributions in the development and breeding of various rice varieties recognized by international research bodies.

Thelma Padolina, a chemist-turned-rice breeder,  formally received the Asian-wide Senadhira Rice Research Award during the International Rice Congress held Oct. 30, in Bangkok, Thailand, making her the first Filipino to earn the award.

Padolina, according to the Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice) where she is a recognized rice breeder, is also the first woman recipient of such an award named in memory of Dr. Dharmawansa Senadhira, a Sri Lankan researcher.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) established the award in honor to Senadhira, who led IRRI’s flood-prone rice research program from 1996 to 1998.

The award is given to scientists “who have made outstanding contributions to rice research, especially for those involved in rice breeding and genetics, increasing tolerance for abiotic stresses, and improving micronutrient density.”

PhilRice said Padolina, who has been into rice breeding for more than 30 years, was the principal developer and breeder of over 20 rice varieties as well as recipient of seven research-related awards.

“When I was informed that I was chosen to receive the award, I was overwhelmed with joy. This is important for me because my efforts as a breeder are recognized,” she said.

Before the establishment of PhilRice, Padolina also co-developed rice varieties for irrigated lowland, cool elevated and other varieties for adverse conditions.

She has  had major contributions in the development of BPI Ri10, BPI Ri12, PSB Rc6 and PSB Rc8 under the Maligaya Rice Research and Training Center and Bureau of Plant Industry from 1978 to 1985.

While working in PhilRice, Padolina had the opportunity to work in the international research scene with IRRI scientists and other international institutes, and foreign countries such as Brunei and China on various rice research-related activities.

“I am grateful for the support of PhilRice. I was trained to breed by international experts through the collaboration of PhilRice,” she said.

Padolina challenged other researchers “to always have passion for their work, have the heart to learn continuously, and work with other experts and learn from them. Moreover, she encouraged breeders to pass their knowledge to others.”

“Skills are earned through experience. Through time, you gradually learn and have an eye to decide which is better,” she said.

A FILIPINA AWARD BRUNEI AND CHINA DR. DHARMAWANSA SENADHIRA INTERNATIONAL RICE CONGRESS INTERNATIONAL RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE MALIGAYA RICE RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTER AND BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY PADOLINA RESEARCH RICE
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