Rice varietiesreleasedin Tanzania
anzanian farmers can now boostrice production by adoptingtwo IRRI-bred high-yieldingrice varieties, Komboka (IR05N221; photo below) and Tai (IR03A262). The new varieties are highlypreferred by farmers for their long,slender, and translucent grainsand soft texture for cooking. Bothvarieties can be grown twice a year.
new generation of high-performing rice varieties, branded as ARICA (AdvancedRice Varieties for Africa), has beenlaunched by the Africa Rice BreedingTask Force. Five ARICA varieties(three lowland varieties and twoupland varieties) outyielded the mostpopular check varieties in the trials.The three lowland varieties havea yield advantage of 30–50% overNERICA-L19 while the two uplandvarieties can yield 15% more thanNERICA 4.“Unlike the NERICA varieties,the ARICAs are not restricted to
interspecic crosses,”said Dr. Marco
Wopereis, deputy director general atthe Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).“Any line that shows promise,regardless of its origin can becomean ARICA variety as long as the data
that are collected are convincing.”“The ARICA varieties oer
promising opportunities to Africa’s
rice sector and can make a dierence
to the lives of Africa’s rice farmers,who do not have access to new
varieties that are beer adapted to
their growing environment and
likely to sell well,” said Dr. Papa Seck,
AfricaRice director general.The Breeding Task Force,which was set up in 2010, comprisesinternational and national rice breeders from 30 African countriesand operates as part of the Japan-funded project,
Developing the NextGeneration of New Rice Varieties for Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia
Africagets ricevarietieswith higheryields
It has adopted a systematic andmulti-environment testing approach
to increase its eciency and ecacy.
In addition to rice breeders, farmers,members of national variety release
commiees and other stakeholders
participate in the evaluation. The breeding lines that enter the TaskForce are provided by many institutesthat are part of the Global Rice
Science Partnership, which is theCGIAR Research Program on Rice.
“This will contribute to faster,
beer documented and beer
targeted releases of new climate-resilient and stress-tolerant ricevarieties for major production
systems in Africa,” said MoussaSié
, Africa Rice Breeding Task Force
coordinator. Dr. Sié is a senior rice
breeder who developed the lowlandNERICAs for which he received the Japan International Koshihikari Rice
Prize in 2006.
He added that the Task Forcehelps strengthen breeding capacityand ensures that national breederscan use the materials from the TaskForce not just to evaluate, but alsoto develop or improve their own
varieties to get a beer t with
their consumers’ preferences andecologies.
ARICA, a w ratio o i-prori ric ariti.
R R a m a n , a f R i c a R i c e
uly is National Nutrition Month every year in the
Philippines. This year’s theme is
Together we can endhunger and malnutrition
. To help kick o this important
is featuring rice nutrition and
quality, not just where it pertains to the Philippines but to
the rest of the rice-eating world as well. The importanceof rice in relation to improving human health cannot beoveremphasized as more than three billion people in theworld eat rice every day.When we talk about the merits of rice with those whoare diet conscious, chances are the arguments will be split between those who think rice is healthy and those whoadvise keeping rice dishes at bay. But, what’s the truth?Our cover story on rice and nutrition, beginning on page11, sheds light on how rice can be part of a healthy diet.Recent media reports about arsenic and leadcontamination of rice also have some consumers asking,
“Is it still safe to eat rice?” Dr. Sarah Beebout, soil chemist
at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI),answers the question with a clear and succinct
Grain of truth
Rice, health, and toxic metals.
Speaking of rice consumers, a story,
In search of a perfect grain
, looks into how IRRI scientists are studyingthe traits of rice grains to produce a higher-qualityproduct more acceptable to consumers. They arecontributing their expertise to ensure consumers get the
type of rice they enjoy eating and help farmers benet
from the increased commercial value of high-quality ricevarieties.
Rice nutrition and quality: geing to the truth
On other topical fronts, rice farmers in Bangladesh’ssouthwestern coastal region are still struggling to catchup with the productivity of the rest of the country.
Thankfully, they are geing some much needed help to
tackle water and salinity problems and optimize crop
and sh production. (See
Catching up in southwesternBangladesh
.)The Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) is carrying outa 3-year project to determine what diseases of rice exist,where and when they occur, and if climate change has
any eects on their severity. Eventually, this project will
develop rice varieties that are resistant to strains of blastand bacterial leaf blight, and concomitant management
Decoding paerns of climate change and rice
)What happens when a diverse array of rice scientists
steps into a eld to actually grow a crop of rice? TwentyIRRI sta members took on the challenge—a rst formany of them—to compete for the highest yield and protfrom a rice crop that they grew themselves, start to nish!
Read some interesting anecdotes and lessons learned in
Rice Survivor: IRRI’s own reality show.
Our map feature
, A year in the life of rice,
zooms inon how major rice-growing areas change during the wet
and dry season on the island of Luzon, Philippines—an
interesting and revealing 12-month cycle.In his
column, Sam Mohanty points out
that India and China are forces to reckon with and could be real
Game changers in the global market
. He says that, ifthe current trend continues, India will likely become theworld’s top rice exporter and China the top importer bythe end of 2013.As food for thought, a Liberian rice fable,
Give me somemore,
tells how rice mythically saved the Vai people, andhow
, their word for rice, came to be.Also, read the story behind the story in
Rice Today andUruguay’s President
. This is a great follow-up on President José Mujica geing hold of a
small country, big in rice
(pages 21-23 in
12, No.2), which had been translated into Spanish, andreading it, from start to nish, during one of his national
And nally, visualize a world
50 years from now inwhich
rice farmers are no longer poor and hungry.
transports you to an imaginary, but very possiblefarming household in 2063. Here, an Indian lady farmer
is running a protable and environmentally friendly rice
farm, thanks to new tools and technology that emanatedfrom research being done by IRRI and its partners in 2013.We’d love to hear from you on our choice of stories in
this and other recent issues. Happy reading!