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Prospect of Another Rice Revolution To Feed World’s Hungry, Says International Rice Research Institute Scientist

Prospect of Another Rice Revolution To Feed World’s Hungry, Says International Rice Research Institute Scientist

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Nov. 10 (EIRNS)–Citing two senior scientists, Dr. Jauhar Ali and Li Zhi-Kang, {Asia Sentinel} correspondent John Berthelsen said the world could be on the verge of experiencing another rice revolution. Berthelsen said the variety, Green Super Rice, developed jointly by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, has the potential to feed millions who now go hungry.

The target is to plant 20 million hectares in another 10 years, according to Dr. Ali, who is the regional project coordinator at IRRI. Next year, as much as 1 million hectares in Asia and Africa will be planted in the new strains, which have been produced by intricate crossbreeding and back-crossbreeding to produce multiple strains that are more resistant to salinity, more impervious to drought and disease, and can achieve above-average yields without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, making them environmentally safe, Dr. Ali told Berthelsen in a recent telephone interview.

The article says some 25,000 hectares have been planted in Vietnam and another 5,700 hectares in the Philippines. Additional lines have been planted in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other countries, achieving yields far above conventional strains and impelling farmers to ask for more. Those 5,700 hectares being planted in the Philippines are expected to produce 90,000 tons of rice. “At that point, they realized they have gold on their hands,” Ali reportedly told {Asia Sentinel}.

Research to come up with Green Super Rice — which does not involve genetic modification, making its strains acceptable to anti-GMO activists — began in 1998 with the launch of an international rice molecular breeding program originally involving more than 18 countries and 36 institutions. Funding constraints eventually reduced the program to just IRRI and the Chinese Academy, said {Asia Sentinel}.

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