Friday, April 26, 2019

Green Super Rice varieties are boosting productivity and income with less inputs and more environmental sustainability

Integrated breeding and crop management solutions help smallholder farmers improve their income and livelihood while protecting the environment and themselves.

Green Super Rice (GSR) can produce high and stable yield with fewer inputs like water, fertilizers, and pesticides. These varieties have the tolerance to different abiotic stresses such as drought, floods, salinity, and other stresses.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations (BMGF) and the Chinese Government, IRRI through the GSR project released 55 varieties in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East and Southern Africa. At present, these varieties cover more than two million hectares in 11 countries. According to a study conducted in the Philippines, GSR farmers have an estimated income advantage of more than USD 231 per hectare. This advantage can reach up to USD 409 per hectare during the wet season.

More than 5,000 GSR lines have been shared with partners for testing. This includes almost 100 new GSR lines nominated in national cooperative trials in Asia and Africa.

The project has also been involved in training and capacity building of almost 60 Ph.D. and MS students from 15 target countries through different Chinese institutions, IRRI and AfricaRice. More than 900 scientists from country partners received advanced training on GSR breeding and crop management training courses. Lastly, more than 3,000 farmers have received short-term training on GSR seed production and crop management.

Participants from IRRI, AfricaRice, BMGF, national country partners, universities, research institutions, and seed companies in China gathered at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences to deepen understanding on the project’s impacts and to enhance the partnership for stronger future cooperation.

According to BMGF Senior Program Officer Gary Atlin, the foundation is honored to support this initiative and is extremely pleased with what the GSR project has achieved. “The new model for collaboration that the project has built has developed germplasm that is not just having a direct impact but continues to create impact for many years as it is being used to raise the value of many breeding programs in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia”, he said.

Gary Atlin also thanked IRRI, CAAS, AfricaRice, and national partners for the conceptualization and management of the project. “The project has done a remarkable job in understanding and responding to the needs of farmers. We thank Dr. Jauhar Ali and his team for their effective work in doing this”, Atlin said. Dr. Ali was also recognized for his leadership role during the project’s conclusion meeting.

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