Use of hybrid rice seeds by African rice farmers grows by at least 10% within the next 8-10 years
HYBRID RICE PROJECT
For Increasing productivity and competitiveness of African rice varieties
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Attaining self-sufficiency in rice production will save Africa an equivalent of US$ 5 billion that is currently spent on importing about 13 million tonnes of rice each year to cover the deficit. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) produces 16 million tonnes of milled rice per year but consumes nearly double that amount at 30 million tonnes of milled rice per year. The low rice productivity averages 2.2 t/ha against the global average of 4.3 t/ha largely caused by lack of high performing varieties. Only a few countries in Africa have attained self-sufficiency in rice production and as many as 21 of the 39 rice-producing countries import between 50% and 99% of their rice requirements.
Breeding by design is a project in which AATF is working with partners who are developing new indigenous rice hybrids that can raise rice yields up to over 10 tonnes per hectare, thus improving the livelihoods of farmers and reducing Sub-Saharan Africa’s dependence on imports. The specific objectives include
• Develop 2-line hybrid rice and parental lines that are well adapted to African conditions.
• Stimulate private seed companies towards sustainable utilization and commercialization of the Hybrid Rice.
• Strengthen the technical capacity of private seed companies in 2-line hybrid technology to ensure continuous breeding, hybrid rice production, release and commercialization.
• Develop an IT tool with interpolated weather surfaces to predict temperature regimes and manage 2-line hybrid rice production risk.
TAAT Policy Enabler
10% of rice farmers in Africa will be using hybrid rice seeds within the next 8-10 years
‘The hybrid is of good quality. It also has characteristics of Pishori which is loved by Kenyans and has a more translucent and stronger grain’ – Dr Raphael Wanjogu, Chief Research Officer at the National Irrigation Board.
Farmers will be able to access the Hybrid Rice seed from their agro-dealers once released. They will get higher rice yields estimated at 7-10 tonnes per hectare under good agronomic practices compared to the current 3 tonnes per hectare.
Parental lines are available for the use of private seed companies for continuous breeding, seed production and marketing. This will create new job opportunities along the downstream value chains.
Hybrid Rice varieties are as competitive as imported rice in terms of grain quality and affordability. Earlier maturity of only 90–120 days compared to 135–150 days for other varieties will reduce the risk of food shortages.
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INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Dr. Kayode Sanni
Dr. John Mann – Hybrid East Africa Limited
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports the TELA, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, QBS, the Hybrid Rice: Breeding by Design projects and has contributed to integrating IT into CAMAP. The Foundation previously supported the WEMA project and also provided core funding for organizational operational support.
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