Rice bred to perform well in the toughest conditions where the poorest farmers grow rice is a step away from reaching farmers thanks to a major project led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Green Super Rice is actually a mix of more than 250 different potential rice varieties and hybrids variously adapted to difficult growing conditions such as drought and low inputs, including no pesticide and less fertilizer, and with rapid establishment rates to out-compete weeds, thus reducing the need for herbicides. More types of Green Super Rice that combine many of these traits are in the pipeline.
As reported in the latest issue of Rice Today, Green Super Rice is already in the hands of national agricultural agencies in key rice-growing countries for testing and development.
Green Super Rice is an example of what is needed as part of a "Greener Revolution," which is called for by rice scientists around the world and is one of the driving concepts behind the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) – a plan to improve international partnerships in rice research, its delivery, and impact that would also ensure that rice is grown in an environmentally sustainable way.
With the theme Rice for Future Generations, the 3rd International Rice Congress held in November last year was the perfect venue for the launch of GRiSP. Incredible sharing of rice research and ideas occurred, which Rice Today features in a suite of stories outlining some of the highlights and activities of the event that was attended by more than 1,900 people.
Our Grain of Truth article links Latin America in with GRiSP, highlighting the benefits of sharing expertise and experiences, while in Africa we learn about how improving the quality of rice is critical to reducing the continent's rice imports.
In our mapping section, we see how much yield and yield stability have improved since the 1960s – and also notice how much room for improvement remains.
IRRI's rodent experts, headed by Dr. Grant Singleton, take us on a journey to the northern Philippines to discover both "good" and "bad" rat species. And, we see how they are working with a local community to adopt practices to help reduce rat damage in rice crops – in 2010, rats destroyed between 30% and 50% of the rice crop there.
India is our country profile this issue and we take a look at some rice awareness-raising activities in Singapore. Meanwhile, IRRI's senior economist Dr. Samarendu Mohanty observes the recent fluctuations of rice prices and suggests that freeing up the market and creating a strategic rice reserve would help keep rice prices stable in the long term.
Finally, it is a pleasant surprise to see that nine World Food Prize laureates have had a connection with IRRI – a reminder that rice science is having an impact where it really matters.
Source: Reprinted news release via International Rice Research Institute