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International Rice Research Institute January-March 2011, Vol. 10, No. 1

Blueprint for a greener revolution

No rust for rice

Rice in the city
Greener rice
Quality matters in Africa

US$5.00 ISSN 1655-5422

Rice Today January-March 2011 1
Vol. 10, No. 1

EDITORIAL................................................................. 4 maps........................................................................ 24 Rice in the city..................................................... 43

Getting a grasp on GRiSP and the future of rice science Rice yield trends in Asia over the past 50 years Rice may soon thrive once more in urban Singapore

Greener rice......................................................... 27
Hidden Treasure................................................... 5 RICE FACtS............................................................... 44
Green Super Rice for the Resource-Poor of Africa and
The global rice market: boom or doom?
Asia aims for environmental breakthroughs in
NEWS.......................................................................... 6 agriculture with rice varieties that are more robust,
high-yielding, and disease-resistant, yet thrive with GRAIN OF TRUTH.................................................... 46
less water, fertilizer, and pesticide The new global rice agenda: a Latin American
PEOPLE....................................................................... 8

new books............................................................. 10 what's cooking?................................................. 30

Rice for future generations......................... 12 obituary................................................................ 31

IRRI holds its Third International Rice Congress in Mun-Hue Heu: Father of the Korean Green Revolution
Hanoi—strengthening its commitment to ensure
food security for tomorrow’s generation
IRRI and the world food prize:
A historic bond................................................... 32
The rise of rice.................................................... 16
Rice finds its way back to the top of the agenda as Volatile markets, cautious traders.......... 34
nations across the world try to attain food security Rice traders see a bumpy road in 2011 as financial risks
in the face of an unpredictable climate and a and climate change rocked the markets of 2010
volatile rice market

Quality matters................................................. 36
Asia pushes for sustainable Africa shifts its focus to producing quality rice to
food security...................................................... 17 support local farmers and reduce the region’s
Asian leaders gather to chart the next steps toward dependence on rice imports
ensuring enough rice in every bowl
On the cover:
Using a palette of threads, an anonymous artist depicts
No rust for rice.................................................. 38
Blueprint for a greener revolution.......... 18 a Vietnamese woman winnowing rice in this traditional
Scientists embark on a quest to discover what makes
GRiSP is an innovative and holistic work plan that hand-embroidered picture. Hand embroidery is a
rice resistant to rust disease and replicate the trait in
seeks to improve international partnerships in rice 700-year-old art form in Vietnam, a country where
other cereal crops
research, its delivery, and impact its economic progress has been driven by its other
tradition—rice farming. Vietnam’s adoption and adaption
Rat busters........................................................... 40 of rice technologies has helped it become a major rice
Country highlight............................................ 22 IRRI’s rodent management team braves the rough exporter. Now, with the advent of the Global Rice Science
IRRI in India mountains of the north to help farmers save their Partnership (GRiSP), it is hoped that other rice-producing
crops from rats countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America will benefit.

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International Rice Research Institute 2011

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Hidden Treasure*
I t is with great delight that I report to you that the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) was successfully launched
as the first new Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Program at the Third
International Rice Congress (IRC2010) last November in Vietnam.
In honor of the International Rice Research Institute’s
(IRRI) 50 years of dedication to rice research and
GRiSP marks a new era in rice science—one that outlines a path through which, for the first time, the world can
better coordinate its approach to rice science. Through GRiSP, rice research agencies can pool resources, apply their development, The Rice Trader (TRT) donated US$10,000
expertise strategically, and collaborate even more in relation to research and its delivery to help poor rice farmers across to IRRI during the TRT World Rice Conference in
the world. Phuket, Thailand, last 12-14 October. This amount is not
By 2035, GRiSP has the potential to contribute significantly to lowering rice prices and reducing global poverty by much compared to the great wealth of others, but I am
more than 10%, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save more than 1 million hectares of natural ecosystems nonetheless glad to be able to give back to the Institute
from being converted to rice production. (Read more about GRiSP in Blueprint for a greener revolution on pages 18-21.) that has given so much to the world. 
With the theme Rice for Future Generations, IRC2010 was the perfect venue for the launch of GRiSP. Incredible
sharing of rice research and ideas occurred and, in this issue, we feature a group of stories outlining some of the
highlights and activities of the event. In the next 50 years forward and what challenges lie ahead of us? The
Further tied into our GRiSP highlight, the Grain of Truth column features Latin America as a significant partner in the simple answer is to sustain the achievements seen

mega-program. It particularly discusses the benefits of sharing expertise and experiences to achieve the global goal of ftentimes, in the midst of celebrating in the last half a century, and even push for more
ensuring food security for each and every person. and looking back at accomplishments, advancement to increase our food supply. The world’s
Africa underlines the necessity to boost local production—in not only quantity but also quality—to reduce the we take a pause in life. It is as if one has population will continue to grow dramatically. But, the
region’s dependence on rice imports. finally reached the top of the mountain amount of land used for food production is reaching
Speaking of increasing production, it is well worth knowing how much yield and yield stability have improved since after an arduous climb, and takes time to sit down, its maximum capacity, and so we must focus on using
the 1960s as presented in the Maps section. It is interesting to note that we still have much room for improvement. rest, and reflect on the journey. land resources more efficiently, boosting yields, and
Of course, production is never without challenges. But, the important thing is how we respond to those challenges. Perhaps, this is the last hurrah reducing postharvest losses.
Dr. Samarendu Mohanty (right)
In this issue, we take a look at the rat problem troubling the many farmers in the northern region of the Philippines. IRRI’s of this 50-year celebration. receives the donation on behalf Needless to say, we need to
rodent experts, headed by Dr. Grant Singleton, take us on a journey to the Mountain Province to discover both “good” And so, allow me to once again of IRRI from TRT’s President/CEO find new, better, and more
Jeremy Zwinger.
and “bad” rat species and to work with a local community to adopt practices that help reduce rat damage in rice crops. humbly honor those who sustainable ways to increase
In our continued effort to highlight countries IRRI works in, this time we focus on India. have dedicated their careers our food supply, and at the
Another country that has garnered attention is Singapore—a very urban nation dependent on rice imports. to propel great revolutions in same time keep prices in check
Singapore is taking on a role in raising awareness about rice—an integral part of Asia’s diet and culture. It is now also agriculture. The time and effort to ensure that everyone can
being eyed as a potential home for a rice futures exchange as mentioned in the task force report Never an Empty Bowl: they have devoted to ensure still have access to food. Energy
Sustaining Food Security in Asia. According to Samarendu Mohanty, IRRI senior economist, a rice futures exchange is one we have food on our plate is is yet another factor that must
of the essential ingredients in helping keep rice prices stable in the long term. In his Rice Facts article, Dr. Mohanty also commendable. It is because be considered on the road
observes that freeing up the market could help buffer the fluctuations in rice prices observed again recently. of them that we—the rice ahead as it will surely leave a
Finally, it is a pleasant surprise to see that nine World Food Prize laureates have had a connection with IRRI—a industry and IRRI—now stand trail, particularly in the cost
reminder that rice science is having an impact where it really matters. We hope this continues through GRiSP and all our where we are, celebrating the THE RICE TRADER of fertilizers, a valued input to
rice science efforts. many hard-won achievements in food production. boost yields.
So, what has occurred during the last 50 years? Working diligently to make sure the world has
Prior to 1960, we were still “mentally” moving away ample food supplies and remains safe from fears of
from the devastation of World War II. At that time, food shortages is a priority. One thing is certain: the
the world had a great sense of rebuilding lives and challenges will be great. Nonetheless, we are also sure
a renewed sense of hope for a better future. The that some people will stand up to these challenges
population then was around a staggering 3 billion knowing that their sacrifices today will be rewarded
Achim Dobermann and questions abounded concerning how to push much later—to the benefit of future generations.
for industrial and technological revolution, while at For me, quiet success outweighs the need for public
the same time sustaining agricultural growth to feed accolades.
the growing number of people. Political turmoil and With this, I would like to end by wishing everyone
shifts in global power followed and brought about a happy new year. May 2011 bring us more blessings—
socioeconomic changes. Yet, in all of this, the world but, more importantly, that we understand the
had to look forward to the progression of the human blessings that have already been bestowed upon us.
race. Problems will always be there, but humans have
been blessed with the ability to solve challenges. I
believe that we will continue to triumph over more
challenges in the future. Jeremy Zwinger
(From left to right) Alain Ghesquière, head of the IRD Genome and Development Research Unit;
Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice deputy director general and director of research for development; In the next 50 years, what must we do as we move Publisher
Carlos Pérez del Castillo, chair of CGIAR Consortium board; Achim Dobermann, IRRI deputy director
general for research; Robert Habib, head of the CIRAD Department of Tropical Production and
Processing Systems; and César Martínez, CIAT rice program leader, discussed GRiSP during IRC2010. * The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Rice Research Institute.
4 Rice Today January-March 2011
See http://snipurl.com/1orsvy for selected YouTube video clips of the GRiSP discussion. Rice Today January-March 2011 5
Korea releases tasty new pest-proof rice Genetic diversity of rice now secure in “Doomsday Vault”

S outh Korea has released Anmi, a new

pest- and disease-resistant japonica
“We were then able to add this
gene to a BPH-susceptible elite japonica
western coast of the Korean peninsula.
Farmers who grow Anmi will likely
T he International Rice Research
Institute (IRRI) has contributed
an additional 42,627 samples of seeds
Global race to find wild crop genes
The Global Crop Diversity Trust has launched New pact to protect rice
rice with high palatability. It is the latest rice variety Junambyeo, successfully experience less damage to their rice a worldwide search for the wild relatives of
from different types of rice to the The International Rice Research
output from Korea’s collaboration with employing the modern rice-breeding crops from such BPH pest outbreaks 23 important food crops, including rice, to
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, dubbed the Institute (IRRI) and GrainPro, Inc.
IRRI to help Korean farmers boost rice technique called ‘marker-assisted while reducing their pesticide use. create a library of wild genes.
“Doomsday Vault,” to help secure the The work will take 10 years and the first have signed a cooperation agreement to
production. breeding’ for the first time ever in Korea’s Variety Development
world’s rice diversity. collecting trips will start in 2011. The seed promote the adoption and dissemination
Anmi, meaning “safe and delicious japonica rice,” he added. Committee of the National Institute of
IRRI first deposited 70,180 rice and plant samples will be conserved at a of rice storage technologies in the
rice” in Korean, has high resistance In 2009, the Rural Development Crop Science, RDA, released Anmi on number of sites around the world, including
samples during the inauguration of the Philippines to reduce postharvest losses
to a destructive rice pest—the brown Administration (RDA) of Korea reported 6 December 2010. It is the result of a the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.
Vault in February 2008. that can be between 15% and 25% of
planthopper (BPH)—as well as to a swarms of BPH in 10 counties along the collaborative research project between The government of Norway is giving US$50
“IRRI now has the largest number million to fund the project. rice harvests.
range of diseases such as blast, bacterial IRRI and RDA.
of samples of a single crop and its IRRI’s postharvest expert, Engr.
blight, and rice stripe virus. It has an Anmi, South Korea's new pest- and disease-resistant japonica wild relatives, coming from the largest Martin Gummert, said the agreement
average milled rice yield potential of rice variety, promises better crop output for farmers.
number of countries, stored in Svalbard,” International Treaty on Plant Genetic helps provide farmers, processors,
more than 5.8 tons per hectare, which is
said Dr. Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, Resources for Food and Agriculture,” and seed producers with cost-effective
11% more than the best check japonica
head of IRRI’s International Rice Dr. Sackville Hamilton said. The Treaty technologies that help reduce postharvest
variety, Hwaseongbyeo, currently grown
Genebank (IRG). ensures the fair sharing of benefits from losses and maintain the quality of rice
in Korea.
The samples sent to Norway are the use of these resources. and seeds.
“We have been working on
duplicates of rice conserved at Since 2002, IRRI and GrainPro
improving the resistance of japonica rice
IRRI’s IRG in Los Baños in the have informally cooperated to develop
to brown planthoppers to help Korean
Philippines. The IRG currently and verify small-scale airtight storage
farmers since 2002,” said IRRI plant
houses the largest collection systems such as the “Superbag.”
breeder Dr. Kshirod Jena. “In 2004, we
of rice genetic diversity in
had a significant breakthrough when we
the world, containing around
Jung-Pil Suh

were able to locate the gene Bph18 for

110,000 different types of rice. Black rice bran reduces
BPH resistance.
“IRRI shares seed from ­inflammation
the IRG for free with farmers, The International Rice A new study by the U.S. Department of
farmers’ groups, governments, Agriculture’s Western Regional Research

chris quintana
Indonesians urged to eat less rice Uganda to double rice production Research Institute houses
and universities, among others, 110,000 different types of Center in Albany, California, has
rice in its genebank.
under conditions set by the claimed that black rice may help soothe
T he Indonesian government has
launched an ambitious drive to wean
people off rice.
and the country has 240 million people
to feed.
Improving farming techniques and
“U ganda will surpass 400,000 tons
of rice by 2015,” Agriculture
Minister Hope Mwesigye said. And, by “Miracle rice” finding proves we can never stop rice breeding
the inflammation involved in allergies,
asthma, and other diseases.
Experiments involved giving black
Welfare Ministry Secretary General a postcolonial food security drive have 2018, production is expected to triple.
rice bran to laboratory mice and hinted
Indroyono Soesilo said, “We urge
Indonesians to kick their habit of eating
rice. We need to diversify our diets.
seen the country go from being the
world’s biggest rice importer in the 1960s
to being self-sufficient now.
The government considers rice
a priority crop and key to alleviating
poverty. Minister Mwesigye noted that
E nvironmental changes are to blame
for a 15% drop in the yield of “mir-
acle rice”—also known as IR8—since
may have occurred over time, as the
possible cause of the yield decline, and
instead identified changes in the environ-
that the bran suppressed the release of
histamine, which causes inflammation.
“Indonesia produces 66 kinds But, while rice is plentiful and rice had helped reduce the country’s the 1960s when it was first released and ment as the cause of the decline,” Dr.
Source: Times of India
of other carbohydrates, such as corn, cheap, the government is worried that the absolute poverty from 50% to 23%. lauded for its superior yields that helped Peng said.
sago, cassava, sweet potato, potato, nation is becoming too dependent on a In view of this, the government avert famine across Asia at the time. “Hotter nights, which are known to
and others,” he added. “All of these can single crop. has established the Uganda National IR8 used to produce a maximum reduce rice yields, and other environmen-
replace rice for two out of three meals a Rice is vulnerable to shifting Rice Development Strategy. Under this yield of 9.5 to 10.5 tons per hectare, tal changes such as modifications in soil Indian farmers adopt flood-
day.” global weather patterns, such as this national program, seven rice irrigation significantly more than other varieties in properties due to intensive rice cropping tolerant rice at unprecedented
The average Indonesian consumes year’s unseasonal rains linked to cooler schemes are set to be constructed to the 1960s when average global rice yields and air pollution are all possible contrib- rates
more than 100 kilograms of rice a year sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, increase local production. were around only 2 tons per hectare. But, uting factors,” he added. Field-testing a rice variety normally
known as the La Niña effect. “We want Uganda to be the regional when grown today, IR8 can yield only According to Dr. Peng, the findings takes 4–5 years before it is released

Other concerns include food basket,” Minister Mwesigye said around 8 tons per hectare, at most. demonstrate the need for ongoing or and another 2–3 years before it reaches
population growth and the during a ceremony where Japan donated Dr. Shaobing Peng, a crop physiolo- “maintenance” breeding because it allows farmers.
shrinking availability of arable US$7.8 million to Uganda to build a rice gist from the International Rice Research rice plants to cope with a changing Through targeted dissemination, the
land because of urbanization research and training center. Institute (IRRI), and his team grew rice environment. International Rice Research Institute is
and rising sea levels from global The center aims to develop the from original IR8 seeds preserved in Despite their limited progress in helping Indian state governments identify
warming, which the government ­capacity of the rice industry and con- the International Rice Genebank and increasing rice yield potential, specific flood-prone areas where seeds
fears could slash Indonesia’s rice tribute to the dissemination of NERICA compared them with IR8 seeds continu- maintenance breeding efforts have had of submergence-tolerant rice can be
Indonesia tries
to diversify its food production. rice in Uganda and boost the income of ously grown and harvested over the last significant success in improving grain distributed, without having to wait until
basket to reduce eastern and southern African farmers. few decades. quality and maintaining rice yields it is multiplied and distributed en masse.
the nation's reliance Source: Agence France Presse “Our study eliminated changes in despite substantial increases in diseases,
on rice.
(AFP) Source: New Vision, www.newvision.co.ug the genetic composition of IR8, which insects, and environmental changes. Source: www.irrinews.org

6 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 7

people people

lanie reyes

L loyd Le Page
was recently
appointed by the
SNP Data Analysis Training Course
IRRI Training Center, Los Baños, Philippines
7-11 March 2011
Rice Breeding Course
IRRI Training Center, Los Baños, Philippines
8-23 August 2011
CGIAR Consortium This course will provide IRRI researchers and scholars with the
essential knowledge required to navigate new single nucleotide This course aims to develop the next generation of rice breeders adept
Board as the first polymorphism (SNP) data sets. The goal is to introduce participants in using modern tools to enhance the precision and efficiency of their
Consortium chief to the available tools to handle these types of data and apply them breeding programs. It will provide the theoretical background on mod-
executive officer. in their own research projects. The course will include hands-on ses- ern breeding methods and techniques, including the use of biotech-
Mr. Le Page, a sions for participants to be familiar with the different software and nology; planning and information management tools and experimental
British citizen, online tools for SNP data analysis. techniques and software; the opportunity to share experiences with
other rice breeders; and the latest updates on areas relevant to rice
is currently leading the Sustainable breeding and the worldwide exchange of rice genetic resources. Breed-
Agriculture and Development Division of Rice: Research to Production ers and agronomists working on variety development or testing in the
Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. In IRRI Training Center, Los Baños, Philippines public and private sector are highly encouraged to attend.
this global role, he has primarily focused Nine IRRI scientists received the been cited for his significant contribution 16 May to 3 June 2011  
on working with small farmers and Merit Medal “for the cause of science and in pest management related to ecology, This course aims to create a new generation of plant scientists that
are well networked in the international community and understand Molecular Breeding Course
improving agricultural value chains in technology development of Vietnam.” The biodiversity, and education. He developed the importance of innovative plant science in tackling global IRRI Training Center, Los Baños, Philippines
Africa and Asia. recipients were ( from left in photo above) insect population models for under- problems. Topics include an understanding of the basics of rice 3-14 October 2011
He brings with him a great deal of Robert Zeigler, director general; Achim standing predator-prey and insect-plant production in Asia; familiarity with the germplasm collection at IRRI This course aims to provide hands-on training that would en-
practical experience globally, regionally, Dobermann, deputy director general relationships, and quantified food webs in and current issues related to germplasm exchange and intellectual hance rice scientists’ capability to apply molecular technologies in
and locally. He has gained the trust and for research; Gurdev Khush, former rice ecosystems and the impact of pesti- property; an appreciation of the research issues of IRRI and its ongoing rice breeding programs. These programs seek to develop
developing-country partners; hands-on skills relating to rice breed- high-yielding varieties that are resistant to various biotic and
confidence of many stakeholders of IRRI rice breeder and principal scientist cides on biodiversity. From his research ing, molecular genetics, and genomics; an understanding of how abiotic stresses, and that will produce rice with improved grain and
the CGIAR community and has been (1967-2001); To Phuc Tuong, principal to understand farmers’ decision-making to structure effective international collaboration; and a plan and nutritional quality.
consulted by some of the centers in the scientist; Darshan Brar, head of PBGB; processes, he designed communication personal contacts to work effectively as part of the international
development of Consortium Research K.L. Heong, senior scientist; Abdelbagi campaigns and entertainment-education research community in the future.
Programs. Mr. Le Page is expected to Ismail, senior plant physiologist; Grant programs for farmers. Dr. Heong is also
For more details, contact Dr. Noel Magor, head, IRRI Training Center
lead the CGIAR in the implementation of Singleton, senior scientist; and Roland one of the five newly elected fellows (IRRITraining@cgiar.org) or see www.training.irri.org.
its new business model. Buresh, principal scientist (not in photo). for agricultural sciences who will be
Glenn Gregorio was appointed The Merit Medal “for the cause inducted in the 22nd General Meeting of
as deputy head of the Plant Breeding, of agriculture and rural development the CGIAR in Morocco in 2011. 
Genetics, and of Vietnam” was given to William Kyu-Seong Lee, director of the 3
Biotechnology (PBGB) Padolina, deputy director general for Korea Plant Industries Association Cam-
Division effective 1 operations; David Mackill, principal bodia Center of the Rural Development
October. Dr. Gregorio’s scientist; David Johnson and Martin Administration (RDA), Republic of Ko-
primary responsibility Gummert, senior scientists; Sushil rea, received this year’s Senadhira Rice 1 2
in his new post is Pandey, senior economist; and Julian Research Award in recognition of his
providing support to Lapitan, head of National Programs outstanding contributions to rice research
the head of PBGB in risk management Relations. and international cooperation in rice
and quality assurance activities, and K.L. Heong, senior scientist and varietal development. The award is given
in mentoring new staff. Dr. Gregorio insect ecologist, was honored by the to a leading Asian scientist working on
will continue to be senior scientist and Third World Academy of Science, an rice research. The award ceremony took
plant breeder for abiotic stresses such as international organization that promotes place at the International Rice Congress
salinity and zinc deficiency. scientific excellence for sustainable in Vietnam.
development in the South. Dr. Heong has Dr. Lee is a former IRRI scientist
who conducted seminal research on the
Awards and recognition genetics of resistance to bacterial blight
in rice and, under the Germplasm for

I RRI and its staff members were

honored at the 3rd International
Rice Congress (IRC2010) held on 8-12
Utilization for Value Added (GUVA)
project, produced quality seeds of
japonica rice varieties for Korean
1. A memorable read. (left to right) IRRI Communication and Publications Services staff mem-
ber Gigi Caballero, water scientist Dr. Ruben Lampayan, and research and extension specialist
Rowie Baltazar celebrate Hanoi’s (formerly known as Thang Long) 1,000th anniversary with
Rice Today in Vietnam.
November in Hanoi, Vietnam. The farmers. He developed a collaborative 2. Catching up on their reading. Participants at the International Rice Congress 2010 take time
Vietnamese government conferred project between RDA and IRRI aimed to read the magazine in between sessions.
upon IRRI the First Class Friendship at developing more nutritious rice 3. Home run. IRRI Web specialist Darell Sison greets the Windy City, home of the Chicago Cubs,
with Rice Today in tow.
Order during IRRI’s 50th anniversary to varieties for Korea and other countries. 4. Warm welcome. Iranians greet IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Achim Dobermann
acknowledge the Institute’s contributions He has tirelessly promoted international (fourth from left) and IRRI scientists Arvind Kumar (third from left), Casiana Vera Cruz (fifth
to Vietnamese agriculture and almost collaboration between Korean scientists from left), Melissa Fitzgerald (sixth from left), and Jauhar Ali (eighth from left), and Rice
Today with a big banner in front of the mosque in Rasht.
half a century of collaboration between and scientists from IRRI and other rice-
the two parties. growing countries.

8 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 9

NEW bookS http://books.irri.org
NEW bookS http://books.irri.org

Research to Impact: Case Studies for Natural Resource provide a modern appraisal to an age-old problem through better
Books launched during the Third International Rice Congress Management for Irrigated Rice in Asia understanding of the mechanisms that lead to rodent outbreaks, why
Edited by Florencia G. Palis, Grant R. Singleton, Madonna C. Casimero, and rodent population numbers increase under different circumstances,
Bill Hardy and the impact of outbreaks in a range of different agroecosystems
Rice in the Global Economy: Strategic Research and Policy and native forests in different parts of the world. This is an encouraging
Issues for Food Security
Edited by Sushil Pandey, Derek Byerlee, David Dawe, Achim Dobermann, T he 2008 global rice crisis stimulated
Asian governments to allocate more
investments to rice research and extension
progress report by scientists passionate about rodents, people,
conservation, and improving knowledge concerning these species and
the ecosystems they inhabit. And, in a novel twist, there is an appendix
Samarendu Mohanty, Scott Rozelle, and Bill Hardy
to increase the rice supply, help rice- of recipes for preparing rat meat. One will be more than tempted to try

W orldwide, rice is the most important food for the poor. It is grown importing countries achieve rice self- one of these dishes the next time one travels in Asia or Africa. View and
on approximately 155 million hectares and accounts for one-fifth sufficiency, and allow exporting countries download on Google Book Search: http://snipurl.com/1nxyii.
of the global calorie supply. Although traditionally an Asian crop, rice to produce surplus stocks. Considering
has long been a staple in parts of Africa and Latin America, and its this staple’s political, economic, social,
importance is growing in those regions. and cultural significance, a continued A Practical Field Guide to Weeds of Rice in Asia (Second Edition)
The past decades have seen many changes that shape how rice increase in rice productivity is critical in By B.P. Caton, M. Mortimer, J.E. Hill, and D.E. Johnson
will be produced in the future. These include rapid economic growth, ensuring food security, reducing poverty
especially in parts of Asia, rising wage rates, increasing diversification
of diets, global climate change, and a greater integration of the food
and hunger, and enhancing environmental
sustainability. Rice production, however, is
challenged by declining water availability,
W eed infestations are every farmer’s concern.
Depending on the type of rice production
system, farmers across Asia often contend with
economy with other sectors of the global economy, including both
energy and financial markets. In the context of these major global the conversion of prime lands to alternate uses, the increasing problem similar weed species. This group of species is
trends, a new vision for future rice farming, which will strategically of labor shortage, unpredictability of climate change, and widespread relatively small, but of great importance, and
position investments in rice research, technology delivery, and the concern regarding the environment. includes many of the “world’s worst weeds.”
design of policy reforms, needs to be developed. Thus, research and extension in agriculture continue to play Aside from the practical information about
This forward-looking book presents a vision for the future of important roles in agricultural development to improve the lives some of the most common weeds of rice in Asia,
rice farming. And, it answers key strategic questions in the context and livelihoods of Asian farmers and consumers. Research generates this easy-to-use guide has information about the
of major developments in the global economy. Various scholarly technologies and good agricultural practices or best practices for botany, ecology, herbicide resistance, and cultural
contributions in this book examine these strategic questions and natural resource management (NRM) to boost resource-poor farmers’ control of these species. Its illustrations aid in early and accurate
lay out a rich menu of options on how to improve rice systems productivity and income. Extension provides mechanisms by which species identification.
sustainably and enhance the overall performance of the global rice these NRM technologies can be disseminated for wide-scale adoption This book aims to help farmers, extension agents, researchers,
economy in order to reduce poverty and hunger. by farmers. and others assess weed control problems and, when possible,
This book was officially launched during the Third International The impacts of NRM technologies can be realized only when provide strategies for improving integrated weed management in
Rice Congress held last 8-12 November in Hanoi Vietnam. View videos of the end users—rice farmers—practice them. Adopting agricultural rice systems. Hopefully, it will assist farmers to better understand the
the launch at http://snipurl.com/1rlh9k. View and download on Google To order IRRI books online, please e-mail RiceworldBookstore@cgiar.org. technologies and best practices for NRM , however, remains a big relationships among land preparation, rice establishment methods,
Book Search at http://snipurl.com/1ny959. challenge largely because most are knowledge-intensive technologies and early-season water management practices that often strongly
that cater to local adaptation by farmers, and not physical products. influence the particular weed species that infest their rice fields. View
Vietnam: 50 Years of Rice Research and Production This book documents cross-country learning through case studies on and download on Google Book Search: http://snipurl.com/1ny8fr.
the processes and methodologies employed from research to achieve
Edited by Bui Ba Bong, Nguyen Van Bo, and Bui Chi Buu
impact by tackling the challenges of generating wider-scale adoption
Published by Agriculture Publishing House, Hanoi, Vietnam
of NRM technologies in lowland irrigated agroecosystems. View and The Rice Crisis: Markets, Policies and Food Security
download on Google Book Search: http://snipurl.com/1nxxgy. Edited By David Dawe
R ice is a way of life for the Vietnamese. This staple crop is deeply
rooted in the cultural heritage of the country. It not only
contributes to national food security but also provides income and
Published by the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization
Rodent Outbreaks: Ecology and Impacts
reduces poverty for the millions of people in the rural sector. The Doi
Moi (renovation policy) in the mid-1980s marked Vietnam’s transition
from a country suffering from food shortage to one of the largest rice
Edited by Grant Singleton, Steve Belmain, Peter Brown, and Bill Hardy
T he recent escalation of world food
prices—particularly for cereals—
producers in the world. The policy is significant as it granted farmers
the right to own land and opened Vietnam’s economy to the free
T he impacts of rodents in both
developing and developed countries
are legendary. Myths and dogma
prompted mass public indignation and
demonstrations in many countries. The
crisis left important implications for future
market. Investment in infrastructure and technology also helped
about rodents and their outbreaks government trade and food security policies,
further boost the country’s rice production capacity.
abound—imbedded in the language as countries re-evaluate their reliance on
Since Vietnam developed its rice research and production, the
and culture of many societies. In many potentially more volatile world markets to
country has been facing challenges of decreasing natural resources,
instances, society’s “acceptance” of augment domestic supplies of staple foods.
particularly rice land and water, global climate change, and increasing
these outbreaks becomes the greatest This book examines how government
population. While looking back at the country’s last 50 years of progress,
challenge of crop protection specialists or policies caused the crisis and responded to the soaring world prices,
the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also gears to further
conservation biologists. The reason why particularly that of rice, the world’s most important source of calories
improve and consolidate research, development, and agricultural
these episodic outbreaks have become for the poor. Comparative case studies of policy reactions in different
policies to sustain long-term national food security, make the rice
etched in the sociocultural psyche countries, principally across Asia, and including the U.S., provide the
economy prosperous, and generate more income for rice farmers.
from the sparsely populated uplands of necessary understanding to be able to evaluate the impact of trade
This book was officially launched during the Third International
Laos to the considerably more affluent policy on the food security of poor farmers and consumers. These
Rice Congress held last 8-12 November in Hanoi, Vietnam. View the
agricultural lands of Europe is that the impacts are often staggering— studies also provide important insights into the concerns of developing
launch at http://snipurl.com/1kdawo.
economically, socially, and even politically. countries that are relevant for future international trade negotiations on
For information on obtaining a copy of this book, contact the
The advent of ecologically based rodent management has key agricultural commodities. As a result, more appropriate policies can
Publishing Department, Ministry of Information and Communication
stimulated the progress summarized in this book. The contributions be put in place to ensure more stable food supplies in the future.
of Vietnam, at http://snipurl.com/1kdb2k.

10 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 11

Rice for future generations
1. Dr. Randy Barker, an
1 2 expert on contested
waterscapes in the
Greater Mekong Basin
from Cornell University
(left) engages in a
by Mia Aureus and Lanie Reyes fluid conversation with
photos by Lanie Reyes and Gene Hettel Chu Thai Hoanh of the
International Water
Management Institute.
2. Coffee break is a chance
IRRI holds its Third International Rice Congress in Hanoi— for scientists to mingle
strengthening its commitment to ensure food security for with each other just like
Bruce Linquist (left), UC-
tomorrow’s generation Davis plant scientist, and
Dr. David Johnson, IRRI
weed scientist.

he International Rice Research “Projected demand for rice will and urbanization that have shrunk the 3. Norman Uphoff of Cor- 3 4
nell University (left) and
Institute (IRRI), in partnership outstrip supply in the near to medium area planted with rice, climate change, James Hill (right), former
with AsiaCongress, held its Third term unless something is done to plant diseases, poor investments in IRRI agronomist and
International Rice Congress reverse the current trends of slow agriculture, inefficient policies, and the currently associate dean,
International Programs,
(IRC2010) on 8-12 November at the productivity growth and inefficient, often use of crops for biofuels, among other at UC-Davis, debate the
National Convention Center in Hanoi, unsustainable management of natural challenges. System of Rice Intensifi-
Vietnam. Attended by more than 1,900 resources,” Dr. Zeigler stressed. For International Fund for cation (SRI).
4. CGIAR Consortium Board
participants from more than 66 countries, “By 2050, it is our responsibility Agricultural Development President Chair Carlos Pérez del Cas-
the event could not have come at a more to increase global food production by Kanayo Nwanze, the world is now tillo (left) visits with IRRI
opportune time as the world once again 70% and to double food production standing at a crossroad. One road leads to Board of Trustees member
Tony Fischer. Mr. Pérez
faces a fork in the road to ensuring global in developing countries,” Vietnam’s a path of least resistance, through which del Castillo helped launch
food security. Minister of Agriculture and Rural people do nothing and risk creating a GRiSP during IRRI’s gala
During the opening of the IRC2010, Development Cao Duc Phat said. “This is world replete with poverty, hunger, and 50th birthday celebration
and dinner.
Dr. Robert Zeigler, IRRI director essential to feed the world’s fast-growing social instability. The other leads to a
general, noted that rice remains of utmost population.” path of action, through which people
importance to the developing world, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen dare to act now and invest in agricultural
especially in Asia, but increasingly in Tan Dung, however, pointed out that and rural research and development Dr. Zeigler said that it is the breakthroughs in rice that aim to provide and investment on the rice business
Latin America and Africa, where rice is efforts to increase food security are to create a brighter future in which IRC2010’s hope to bring everyone solutions to problems posed by climate infrastructure (see The rise of rice on
the fastest growing food staple. currently threatened by industrialization people can grow healthy and have better together to advance rice science and its change, plant diseases, industrialization pages 16).
opportunities and choices in life. application to reduce poverty and hunger, and urbanization, etc., and ultimately All participants were also invited to
Aptly themed “Rice for future improve human health and nutrition, and increase yields to meet global demand. the Third International Rice Technology
generations,” the IRC2010 signified a create a better environment. Moreover, in conjunction with and Cultural Expo that featured the latest
definitive step toward the path of action. The 28th International Rice IRRC28, the first International Rice technologies, equipment, and machinery
Both the public and private sector have Research Conference (IRRC28)— Policy and Investment Conference for rice farming, processing, research,
rallied their support in pushing for better which was considered the heart of brought members of the rice market and development.
investments in agriculture. Through IRC2010—gathered the world’s top rice together to discuss key issues concerning Recognizing Asia’s crucial role
Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and scientists to discuss the latest scientific rice trade and the impact of policy in supplying rice to the world—as it
Rural Development, the Vietnamese
government played a significant role
as host for the event—highlighting
Vietnam’s success story in pulling the
country from a state of poverty after the
Vietnam War in the 1950s to 1970s to
a flourishing nation that now holds the
title of the world’s second-largest rice
exporter. Private companies, namely,
Bayer, Syngenta, Kubota, Pioneer, and
Lindsay Corporation, particularly served
as partners of the event.

IRRI Principal Scientist Roland

Buresh checks his notes one IRRI’s IRC exhibit
more time before a presentation was popular with
at IRRC28. visitors.
Street signs in Hanoi herald the IRC.

12 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 13

produces more than 90% of global rice— 1 2 3
Asian ministers and their representatives
gathered on 9 November to discuss
the recent report titled Never an empty
bowl: sustaining food security in Asia
(see Asian pushes for sustainable food
security on page 17).
Finally, IRC2010 also provided
the perfect avenue to officially launch
the Global Rice Science Partnership Professor and acade-
(GRiSP), along with the book Rice in the mician Dao The Tuan,
Global Economy: Strategic Research and well-known agricultural-
ist in Vietnam and known
Policy Issues for Food Security (see book as the “father” of many
section on pages 10-11). highly productive rice Dr. Pehu, three key tasks lie ahead: (1) they will be driven to cities in search of
GRiSP is a mega-program that varieties (http://snipurl. keep the message of agriculture’s positive other opportunities. If we allow this to 4
com/1nxs5q), checks out
embodies the global effort to improve the poster on Vietnam at
contribution to poverty reduction, happen, we will be left with no one to
rice yields sustainably, lower food prices, IRRI’s IRC exhibit. economic growth, and environmental plow the fields that will feed the future.”
and lift millions of people from poverty sustainability—including agriculture’s Yes, the future belongs to the young
(see Blueprint for a greener revolution on critical role in combating climate farmers of today. And, it is only apt that
pages 18-21). The launch of this program active support from developed countries change—high on the agenda; (2) support the IRC2010 also signifies a renewed
marks the beginning of a 5-year, nearly and international organizations,” Prime existing research partnerships and build commitment to young people, to later
US$600 million endeavor. While GRiSP Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said. “We new ones in a multipolar world; and pass on to them the torch of knowledge in
builds on existing research, development, need coordinated action at regional levels (3) champion innovation that builds on rice science development that will sustain
and funding, it requires additional new as well as on a global scale.” differences as a foundation of strength. rice production for future generations.
financial support to raise annual funding Dr. Eija Pehu, World Bank Moreover, along with IFAD
for rice research from around $100 (WB) adviser for agriculture and President Nwanze, Dr. Pehu stressed the
million in 2011 to $139 million in 2015 to rural development, referred to WB need to recognize women’s and youth’s 5
fully realize its potential. President Robert Zoellick’s “inclusive role in breaking the vicious cycle of
“With many difficulties and globalization” to emphasize the need for poverty and ensuring food security.
challenges still facing food security, nations and people around the world to She said that WB aims to have 75% 1. IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze explains the
achieving this goal will require the be more interactive, interconnected, and of agriculture and rural development importance of investing in agricultural and rural
effort of every nation, and especially the open in meeting these challenges. For projects benefit women by 2014. research and development.
2. Dr. Eija Pehu, World Bank adviser for agriculture
Also, she advised that everyone must and rural development, reminds the delegates
be mindful of “how we develop and of women’s and youth’s role in ensuring food
Sigrid Heuer, IRRI molecular
encourage the potential of our youth.” security.
3. “There is no better example than Vietnam of how
biologist, discusses her work IFAD President Nwanze echoed, a vibrant rice sector can serve as the engine of
with visitors during one of the “If we do not engage the world’s rural growth for an agrarian society,” says Dr. Robert
IRC scientific poster sessions. A man demonstrates how to make youth today—and lay the groundwork for Zeigler, IRRI director general.
tò he, an edible Vietnamese toy 4. Mr. Sam Dryden, director of the agricultural
fashioned from colored rice dough,
profitable rural enterprises tomorrow— development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates
during the welcome reception for Foundation, explains why rice will never be just
IRC delegates. another commodity at the International Rice
Policy and Investment Conference—a new feature IRC2010 videos
in the IRC2010 program that highlights the
6 7 importance of sound policy and wise investment
for future global food security.
5. Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
acknowledges IRRI’s many scientific achievements
and its assistance to and support for his country’s
rice production over the past decades.
6. (From left to right) In front row, Dr. Hei Leung,
Dr. R.K. Singh, and Dr. Edilberto Redoña; at the
back, Dr. Ken McNally and Dr. Glenn Gregorio, IRRI
scientists, and Dr. S.K. Dubey, a scientist at the
A set of 45 videos, shot by Gene Hettel,
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, convene
includes highlights from the opening
between sessions to brainstorm on an innovative
ceremonies, two book launchings,
way of breeding for the rice plant of the future.
and selected sessions of the first-ever
7. Dr. Gurdev Khush (left), former IRRI principal
International Rice Policy and Investment
scientist and 1996 World Food Prize laureate,
Conference (IRPIC) and the 28th
shares his thoughts with some participants.
International Rice Research Conference
(IRRC28), both held as part of the Congress.
The launching of the Global Rice Science
Partnership (GRiSP) is also featured.

14 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 15


Asia Society
The rise of ric
Rice finds its way back to the top of the agenda as nations
by Mia Aureus
Asia pushes
for sustainable
across the world try to attain food security in the face of an
unpredictable climate and a volatile rice market
food security Never an empty bowl video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/HvCBQD3An9g by Robert Hsu

lanie reyes
Asian leaders gather to chart the including the World Bank, the the rural and urban poor so that they can
next steps toward ensuring enough International Fund for Agricultural lead productive lives even in the face
ice will never be just another support prices to encourage more farmers countries. Genetically modified (GM) Development, the UN Development of significant risks and vulnerabilities;
rice in every bowl
commodity. to plant, and, in some cases, governments rice may also hold potential to safely Programme, and the Asian Development and providing regional public goods for
Much of the truth behind this simple such as India were compelled to protect deliver unique rice varieties that cannot Bank, participated in the meeting. sustainable food security in Asia.

statement can be derived from the 2008 their stocks by imposing an export be achieved through other breeding he Asia Society and the Participants shared their insights One common theme that emerged
rice crisis that shocked the world and ban. Trade restrictions, however, were methods—although currently, no GM International Rice Research into how the task force report fits from the meeting was how Asia’s
triggered massive protests in Africa often seen to distort the market and are rice is commercially available. Institute (IRRI) task force report, into their own specific national growing population and economic
and parts of Asia. It revealed the fragile therefore not healthy in the long run. Such Moreover, Dr. Thomas Reardon of Never an Empty Bowl: Sustaining and institutional food security development will impact the availability
economic state of many families across market shocks, including calamities that Michigan State University pointed out that Food Security in Asia, was the focus plans and expressed unanimous of rice for future generations. Participants
the world that relied on this staple for daily drastically cut supplies, have brought a increasing yield does not necessarily lie of the Ministerial Roundtable Meeting support for the report’s findings and widely agreed on the need for greater
nourishment. Rice, which has dwindled renewed focus on regional rice reserves only in developing new varieties (http:// on rice at the Third International Rice recommendations. All participants investments into strengthening the global
in significance after the successes of to serve as a buffer. Plus, the challenge of youtu.be/EXJygMGlSL4). Sometimes, it Congress (IRC2010) in Hanoi, Vietnam, agreed that implementing the four rice economy, particularly in Asia, to
the Green Revolution, was suddenly a limited water and energy supply added just simply needs efficient postharvest and on 9 November. major recommendations contained reduce supply vulnerability and prevent
catapulted again to a national priority and two more constraints to production; these structural management. Poor postharvest The Ministerial Roundtable Meeting in the report is critical to achieving the emergence of another food crisis like
an international imperative—with several resources were previously assumed to be practices can reduce yield by 15–20%. He was chaired by Vietnam’s Minister of food security in the long term and the one that occurred in 2008.
new challenges that will test the ability of broadly available during the last Green also noted that moving away from long Agriculture and Rural Development Cao improving access to affordable rice in “There was great enthusiasm for the
the world to deliver food for the future. Revolution. This has, in turn, made supply chains can help prevent a large Duc Phat and IRRI Director General Asia and throughout the world. The messages contained in the report and for
Speakers at the first-ever International sustainability a recurring theme, as rice amount of rice from being wasted. Citing Robert Zeigler. Representing the Asia report specifically recommended raising the clarity in which they were presented,”
Rice Policy and Investment Conference production’s impact on the environment China as an example, he said that 5% of Society at the meeting was Dr. Peter and sustaining the productivity of rice said Dr. Timmer after the Ministerial
(IRPIC) covered key issues on rice trade was also considered in assessing policy production is lost in just bringing rice Timmer, the task force’s principal farmers in ways that conserve water, Roundtable Meeting. “The next step
and the impact of policy and investment. and investment initiatives. from the farm to the plate. advisor. Officials from 19 countries land, and energy-intensive inputs, while is for participating officials to take
This conference, organized in conjunction (Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, also building resilience to the expected the report back to their countries (and
with the 28th International Rice Research Increasing yield is the key Strength in policy and investment China, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, impacts of climate change; improving institutions) and use it as a framework
Conference during the International Rice According to IRRI, the key to building To be able to obtain the necessary Iran, Iraq, Italy, Laos, Malaysia, the environment for rural development, to help analyze and formulate their own
Congress 2010 held in Hanoi, Vietnam, the global rice supply lies in improving technologies, the rice sector calls for Myanmar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, including farm and nonfarm activities food security policies.”
8-12 November, highlighted rice’s yield. In his outlook for 2020 and 2035, better policies and more investments. The Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam; locally, nationally, and regionally, with
importance in both achieving food security Dr. Mohanty noted that, in order for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has written statements provided by Brunei renewed attention to how to stabilize
and reducing poverty. the supply to keep up with the growing recognized the strength that lies behind Darussalam and Singapore) and seven domestic food economies; providing Mr. Hsu is a senior program officer for
Considering that half of the world demand, the world needs to produce an these two factors, and it has already international and aid organizations, safety nets and more nutritious foods to policy studies at the Asia Society.
depends on rice, any tip in the balance of additional 84 million tons of paddy in put its financial support behind IRRI’s
global rice production can cause ripple the next 10 years. This requires a 1.5% initiatives—most recently, the Global Rice
effects in the market that eventually increase in yield every year compared Science Partnership (see Blueprint for a
hit poor farmers and consumers. Dr. with the current 0.8%. Dr. Mohanty added greener revolution on pages 18-21). Prahbu
Samarendu Mohanty, head of the that, by 2035, without yield improvements, Pingali, deputy director of agricultural
International Rice Research Institute’s land available to rice must expand by development at the Foundation, said that
(IRRI) Social Sciences Division and IRPIC much more so as to produce the additional the Foundation believes that everyone
organizer (photo above), pointed out 116 million tons that will be needed to should have a healthy, productive life, and
that, over the past 2 years, many nations keep the world sufficiently fed. But, little IRRI’s innovative research is recognized
have moved toward food security by land is now available for expansion. as a vital tool that will catalyze a shift
attaining rice self-sufficiency. Nations have IRRI’s main thrust is to use toward this vision. While investments
awakened to the truth that the agricultural innovative technology to develop new start to come in, governments are further
sector demands as much attention as any varieties that can provide better yield encouraged to do their fair share to
other sector in the economic development and thrive during drought, flooding, and implement more efficient policies that will
process; hence, efforts to expand domestic salinity, among other extreme conditions. sustain the development of these programs
production by increasing yield and Marker-assisted breeding for the benefit of the present and future
providing better input subsidies have and hybridization are two modern generations.
mushroomed in most countries. technologies that have been used to
Nations also saw a need to build their develop new rice varieties that have See selected IRPIC video clips on
domestic stocks by increasing minimum been adopted in major rice-growing YouTube at http://irri.org/IRPIC_videos.

16 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 17

Blueprint for a greener revolution by Achim Dobermann

GRiSP is an innovative and holistic work plan that seeks to improve international

chris quintana
All about rice
The overarching organizing principle of
partnerships in rice research, its delivery, and impact the partnership is rice-based production
systems and value chains (the “from

“O ne finger cannot lift a pebble,”

says an African proverb.
where GRiSP was formally launched.
“International agricultural research
to 160 million hectares. The challenge
is to reverse the current trends of slow
field to market principle”). All research
will use an interdisciplinary approach
in which targeting and prioritizing
The significance of working together has continuously played a key role productivity growth and inefficient, often are based on a clear understanding of
cannot be overemphasized—especially in helping increase the world’s food unsustainable management of natural the different targeted environments,
now, when the road to attaining food production.” resources. The 2008 rice crisis is a management systems, and market
security and poverty alleviation As the first CRP to be approved, grim reminder that steep and long-term segments. On the one hand, this will need
is riddled with challenges such as GRiSP illustrates rice’s importance as price increases could wreak havoc on a broad range of scientific, or upstream,
decreasing agricultural lands, depleting a staple food for the world’s growing the lives of people and send dangerous partners to seek out innovations and, on
natural resources, looming climate population. For every 1 billion people tremors across the political and economic the other hand, many partnerships at the
change, diseases, and poor investment added to the world’s population, 100 landscapes in the world’s most populous Salinity-tolerant lines developed by Dr. Glenn Gregorio, IRRI plant grass-roots level for both dissemination
in agriculture. It is for this reason million tons of rice (paddy) need to be regions. breeder, and his team are designed to help farmers who are affected and feedback. The result will be
that the International Rice Research produced each year—with less land, by salinity, particularly in areas susceptible to sea-level rise. accelerated development of international
Institute (IRRI), the Africa Rice Center less water, and less labor, in more eco- panelists during discussion on GRiSP: (1) Alain public goods across the whole rice sector.
Ghesquière, head of IRD Genome and Development Research
(AfricaRice), the International Center for efficient production systems that are Unit; (2) Achim Dobermann, IRRI deputy director general Based on these considerations and for
Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and many more resilient to climate change and that for research; (3) Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice deputy director How rice is currently grown must and value for the poor in the context of effective management of the research
general and director of research for development; (4) Carlos
other organizations have come together also contribute less to greenhouse gas Pérez del Castillo, chair of CGIAR Consortium board; be changed. Traditional rice systems a changing climate through accelerated and development process, the program
to design an innovative solution anchored emissions. (5) César Martínez, CIAT rice program leader; and (6) Robert have high environmental footprints that demand-driven development of improved components are structured into six major
Habib, head of CIRAD Department of Tropical Production and
on partnerships. Aptly named the Global Experts project that demand for Processing Systems. range from water to carbon footprints. varieties and other technologies along the rice research and development themes: (1)
Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), this rice will continue to increase and will Thus, rice needs to be produced with value chain; (2) to foster more sustainable harnessing genetic diversity to chart new
“mega” program aims to help billions exceed supply in the near future. They less tillage, less labor, less pesticide, rice-based production systems that productivity, quality, and health horizons;

lanie reyes (6)

of people around the world who largely say that an additional 8 million tons of with generally more efficient use of use natural resources more efficiently, (2) accelerating the development,
depend on rice as their daily source of rough rice need to be produced each inputs such as nutrients and water, are adapted to climate change and are delivery, and adoption of improved rice
nourishment. year for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, and with increased resilience to cope ecologically resilient, and have reduced varieties; (3) ecological and sustainable
the area planted to rice can no longer with climate change. Across the world, environmental externalities; and (3) management of rice-based production
A global blueprint expand beyond the currently used 155 rice will have to tolerate extreme to improve the efficiency and equity systems; (4) extracting more value from
GRiSP represents—for the first time temperatures and survive droughts, of the rice sector through better and rice harvests through improved quality,
ever—a single strategic blueprint for floods, and salinity. The delta regions, more accessible information, improved processing, market systems, and new
global rice research and how it can from which much recent gain in agricultural development and research products; (5) technology evaluations,
contribute more effectively to solving production comes, will be particularly policies, and strengthened delivery targeting, and policy options for
development challenges at the local, susceptible to rises in sea levels and mechanisms. enhanced impact; and (6) supporting the
national, and regional levels. It is a stronger tropical storms. growth of the global rice sector.
Consultative Group on International Breaking the poverty cycle
Agricultural Research (CGIAR) In harmony with the CGIAR To achieve its goals, GRiSP plans to A business-like approach
Research Program (CRP) under the The mission of GRiSP is synchronized foster high-quality, impact-oriented GRiSP will be viewed through a business
theme “sustainable crop productivity with that of the CGIAR, that is, to research and development activities in perspective in terms of the structure and
1 2 3
for global food security.” It streamlines reduce poverty and hunger, improve a global context. Strategically, the key implementation of its research agenda.
current research for development of the human health and nutrition, reduce point for farmers to enter into a virtuous For example, the socioeconomic and
CGIAR. the environmental footprint, and circle is to raise the productivity and biophysical factors that drive farmers,
“The development of GRiSP has enhance ecosystem resilience of rice resource efficiency of rice production agribusinesses, small entrepreneurs,
given a great impulse to the reform production systems through high-quality systems to unprecedented levels (see Fig. consumers, and many other actors in
agenda of the CGIAR,” said Dr. Carlos international rice research, partnership, 1). Better income will enable farmers the value chain will be thoroughly
Pérez del Castillo, chair of the CGIAR and leadership. to invest more in diversification and understood through research. This will
Board, during the Third International In harmony with the CGIAR’s sustainable management practices— provide innovative tools and information
Rice Congress (IRC2010) held in objectives, GRiSP laid out three specific improving their food security, nutrition, needed for evidence-based targeting in
4 5 6
Hanoi, Vietnam, last 8-12 November, aims: (1) to increase rice productivity health, and the environment. GRiSP research and development themes

18 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 19

joseph bigirimana
his perspective on GRiSP during the
He explained CIAT’s initial
connection with Asia that dates back to
1967. At that time, Dr. Peter Jennings,
an IRRI plant breeder, shared with them
IRRI varieties, which, according to him
marked the Green Revolution in Latin
America. But, with this reconnection
through GRiSP, he mentioned some
benefits such as sharing rice technologies
and germplasm, and improving capacity
building for Latin America.
As an evolving partnership, GRiSP
will be led by IRRI, which also oversees
the activities in Asia. It is supported by
AfricaRice, which leads the work in
Africa, and CIAT in the Latin America & Rice farmers will benefit from GRiSP through sharing
of germplasm, technologies, and institutional capacity
Caribbean region. Other internationally- among hundreds of partner institutions.
operating research organizations such
as the French Agricultural Research
Fig. 1. Enabling farmers to enter a virtuous circle is the core goal of GRiSP. Centre for International Development
(CIRAD), French Research Institute Aside from strengthening existing (CIMMYT), International Food Policy Over a global 25-year inflation-
for Development (IRD), and Japan partnerships, GRiSP also provides new Research Institute (IFPRI), International adjusted investment of roughly $3
that focus on the development of new It is also worthy to mention that International Research Center for opportunities for partnerships in research Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), billion, or for every $20 of investment,
products, their adaptation, and adoption. gender is inherent in GRiSP’s objectives, Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) will play and development, bringing together International Water Management one person is lifted above poverty—an
Plus, some feedback on adoption and themes. And, capacity building in a strategic role in GRiSP. its key players and stakeholders such Institute (IWMI)—to name just a efficient development investment that has
patterns, constraints, and true impact can both rice science and extension is fully Since partnerships are the main as advanced research institutes and few—will be involved in GRiSP- a high return in poverty eradication.
be usefully gleaned through this. integrated to ensure adequate skilled drivers for reaching its vision, GRiSP universities; national research, education, related projects and activities, including For the past 50 years, countries such
“GRiSP will allow us to be more personnel for future rice development. serves as the umbrella to strengthen and and extension systems; CGIAR centers; regional and national initiatives that cut as Thailand and Vietnam, among others,
effective and efficient in creating impacts expand partnerships. At present, the six the private sector; and civil society across different CRPs and systemwide have been transformed into leaders in
even with huge challenges,” said Marco An evolving alliance international centers and organizations organizations, among others (see Fig. 2). programs such as the Generation the rice industry—a metamorphosis
Wopereis, AfricaRice deputy director “Through GRiSP, CIAT will be in GRiSP (IRRI, AfricaRice, CIAT, National rice research and development Challenge Program. that could not have occurred without a
general. “But, we can guarantee faster reconnected with the rice community in JIRCAS, CIRAD, and IRD) have about systems such as those of China, India, revolution in rice cultivation. Now, with
results only if we know what we are Asia and Africa,” said César Martínez, 900 research and development partners Japan, and Brazil will also significantly Vision of success GRiSP’s concretely laid-out vision of
doing, where and when, and with whom.” CIAT rice program leader, giving worldwide. contribute to GRiSP by connecting GRiSP has a clear view of what it success, innovative and holistic approach,
their national research programs with wants to see in the future. It laid out and the concerted efforts of hundreds of
GRiSP’s global themes. GRiSP will concrete and quantifiable key impacts institutions that share a similar vision,
expand its partnerships with civil society to benefit the poor, the hungry, and the the future will continue to make a
organizations such as nongovernment environment in the next 25 years. difference in the lives of the poor around
organizations and farmers’ associations, By 2035, those living under the the world.
among other groups. Partnership with the US$1.25 (PPP) poverty line will reduce Dr. Robert Zeigler, IRRI director
private sector is also an integral part of their expenditures by $11 billion general, hopes that, “Through GRiSP,
GRiSP. annually (holding consumption constant). we can advance rice science and its
Furthermore, GRiSP will be linked Spending less while gaining more income application to reduce poverty and hunger,
in various ways with other CRPs. would mean that 150 million people improve human health and nutrition, and
Through its own activities and through would be lifted above the $1.25 poverty create a better environment.”
collaborative projects, co-investment line, reducing global poverty by 11%.
from or in other CGIAR Research As rice becomes more available Notes: The full GRiSP document can be
Programs, and active participation and its price goes down, 62 million downloaded through http://irri.org/our-
by IRRI, AfricaRice, and CIAT undernourished people would be able science/global-rice-science-partnership-
and their partners in other CGIAR to consume sufficient calories per day grisp. See http://snipurl.com/1orsvy for
Research Programs, GRiSP will be in Asia—thus reducing the number of selected YouTube video clips of the GRiSP
fully integrated in the Strategy and hungry Asians by 12%. discussion at IRC2010.
Results Framework of the CGIAR For the environment, nearly 1
Consortium. Several other CGIAR billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
centers such as the International emissions will stay clear of Earth’s Dr. Dobermann is the deputy director
Fig. 2. Current partners and their roles in GRiSP.
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center atmosphere. general for research at IRRI.

20 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 21

Country highlight: Nel Garcia, Arnel Rala, and Murali Krishna gumma
Indian farmers harvested rice on million hectares Research Station (CRURRS) and IRRI

IRRI in India
44,100,000 hectares across the
country in 2009.
(40% of India’s 44 (see Making rice less thirsty on pages 12-
million hectares of 15 of Rice Today Vol. 8, No. 3). Sahbhagi
harvested rice area), dhan can survive without water for 10–12
faces problems days and has a yield advantage of 0.8 to
caused by flooding 1 ton per hectare when drought occurs.
Compiled by Paula Bianca Ferrer and drought. Farmers who have tried the variety say
When rainfed rice that it is very helpful in maintaining rice
research began in production despite dry spells.
1992, India was

uring the 1943 Bengal and training. recognized as a key Training and information exchange
famine, 3 to 4 million This paved partner. It had one More than 1,000 Indian researchers have
people died because of the way for the rice research center participated in education and training
widespread starvation. Since two institutions for rainfed upland, programs at IRRI. Hundreds of Indian
then, food security has been an important to sign work plans every 4 two for flood- scientists have participated in IRRI’s
concern for India. For many years, the years, reviewing the progress Rice area prone areas, and conferences, workshops, and monitoring
country had to sustain itself largely of research and identifying hybrid rice through a national network five for rainfed lowland, along with two tours over the years and have helped
through imports. Moreover, it faced opportunities and areas in project funded by the United Nations other main rice research centers. Under disseminate rice knowledge.
another dilemma when the population which both could collaborate. India: fast facts (2009) Development Programme, the Asian the upland and lowland rice research
grew further. The introduction of newly The synergy in their partnership Population: 1.2 billion Development Bank, and the World Bank. consortia, mechanisms for tolerance Toward the future
developed semidwarf rice varieties in resulted in advancements in Total land area: 2.9 million sq km1 NARES researchers’ concerted efforts, of submergence and drought were India will be one of the most important
Average rice yield: 3.0 tons per hectare
the 1960s helped India overcome such the development of disease- and Total rice production: 131.3 million tons2 technical backstopping, access to IRRI’s explained and tested under the All India partner countries for the Global Rice
challenges to its food security, allowing insect-resistant varieties suited Area planted to rice: 44.1 million hectares2 genetic materials, and generous funding Coordinated Trials and rice genetic Science Partnership (GRiSP). At present,
the country to achieve rice-sufficiency to various rice environments, the 1
CIA World Factbook
from donors allowed India to become the materials were screened and selected. some 170 partnerships exist between IRRI
and even become one of the major rice- development and release of public- 2
FAOSTAT second country in the world, after China, Through ICAR and IRRI’s close and Indian institutions and organizations.
producing countries today. and private-bred hybrid rice varieties, to commercialize hybrid rice. The first collaboration, SUB1—the gene that This includes over 40 research institutions
The semidwarf modern varieties streamlining of rice production had been either released as varieties for set of hybrids was released in 1994 and, confers tolerance of submergence—was belonging to the ICAR system,
enabled India to substantially increase practices for improved sustainability commercial cultivation in India or used by 2010, 43 hybrids had been released in successfully introduced to high-yielding universities, and others. ICAR will act as
its rice production without considerably and productivity, and increased training in Indian breeding programs through the country (see Hybridizing the world and popular Indian rice variety Swarna, a nodal point for GRiSP research activities
increasing the area for this production. and information exchange with Indian the International Network for Genetic on pages 32-35 of Rice Today Vol. 9, which later led to the development of in India. Science capacity, including
Many recent modern rice varieties can be researchers. ICAR and IRRI have been Evaluation of Rice (INGER). No. 4). More than 70% of these hybrids Swarna-Sub1 (see Scuba rice on pages scholarships, internships, and short
traced back to the original semidwarf rice working together since 2009 on 37 major have either one or both parents bred at 26-31 of Rice Today Vol. 8, No. 2). courses, will also be a major component of
variety IR8, also known as “miracle rice,” initiatives that include projects such as Hybrid rice IRRI. Because of the effective use of rice Swarna-Sub1 can produce 3–3.5 tons GRiSP–India collaboration.
which was developed by the International Stress-Tolerant Rice for Poor Farmers For hybrid rice research, India and IRRI’s breeding materials, hybrid rice has been per hectare of rice even if it has been IRRI and India promise to work
Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and of Africa and South Asia (STRASA), collaboration began in 1980. IRRI’s developed and disseminated rapidly in submerged under water for up to 2 weeks. together in the next 10 years—and even
released in India in the 1960s. A miracle the Cereal Systems Initiative for South generous supply of hybrid rice breeding India. Today, hybrid rice occupies about This variety has already been released beyond—on areas of mutual relevance,
indeed: the country’s rice production Asia (CSISA), and C4 rice. More than materials and its training support for 1.4 million hectares in the country and is for commercial cultivation in the Indian in which good science and collaboration
jumped from 31 million tons in 1950 to 80 institutes and organizations in India its partners in the national agricultural poised for significant growth. states of Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. will make significant strides. India,
111 million tons by 1990. By 2009, India collaborate with IRRI in various areas of research and extension systems (NARES) Sahbhagi dhan, a drought-tolerant with its diverse rice ecologies and large
produced 131 million tons of rice.1 rice research. on hybrid rice technology laid a strong Rice production and management rice variety, is also another innovation capacity in scientific human resources,
foundation for hybrid rice research Collaborative research between India and resulting from close collaboration between will continue to play a key role in IRRI’s
India-IRRI partnership Conservation and exchange of rice in India. By 1989, the country had IRRI has greatly helped in streamlining the Central Rainfed and Upland Rice agenda. India is interested in partnering
IRRI began its partnership with genetic materials developed a systematic, goal-oriented, rice production practices to make rice on initiatives that include C4 rice. Other
India through the Indian Council for India has contributed 15,865 types of rice and time-bound research program on production not only profitable but also areas in which India and IRRI will
Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1967. to the International Rice Genebank at sustainable and environment-friendly. “IRRI and India have been strategic be working together are innovative
Indian scientists from the two main IRRI, some of which have provided traits Some of these practices are resource- partners improving the productivity public-private partnerships to deliver
rice research centers of ICAR—the such as grassy stunt virus resistance from “The IRRI-India collaboration is a conserving technologies (laser-aided land technologies to farmers through CSISA
Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) central Indian rice species Oryza nivara, success story. Through germplasm leveling, zero or minimum tillage, drill
of Indian rice-based systems ever and rice varieties improved against
in Cuttack and the Directorate of Rice which is useful in developing varieties exchange, hybrid rice development, and drum seeding, nitrogen fertilizer since IRRI was established in 1960. drought, submergence, and salinity
Research (DRR) in Hyderabad— that are resistant to submergence, salinity, and capacity building, it helped management using a leaf color chart), We see India as a very important for farmers in rainfed areas through
regularly visited IRRI. In 1974, directors pests, and diseases. In turn, IRRI gives India enhance its rice production and integrated weed management practices participant in the new Global Rice STRASA. IRRI foresees that, in the next
general M.S. Swaminathan and Nyle C. Indian scientists access to its store of for direct-seeded rice, and integrated Science Partnership (GRiSP) that 2 years, more stress-tolerant rice varieties
Brady of ICAR and IRRI, respectively, genetic materials, as well as those from
boosted the country’s productivity.” crop management practices. that include not only submergence
was recently approved as the first
signed the first memorandum of other countries, for crop improvement. Up ‘mega-program’ in the CGIAR reform and drought tolerance but also salinity
Dr. B.C. Viraktamath, DRR project director
understanding for cooperation in research to 2010, more than 400 IRRI-bred lines The rainfed, lowland, and upland rice process.” tolerance will be released in India.
research consortia
Rice cultivation in rainfed lowland Dr. Robert Zeigler, IRRI director general
Statistics on rice production in 1950-60 are sourced from www.indiastat.com while those from 1961 to 2009 are from FAOSTAT. and upland areas, which is about 18 Ms. Ferrer is a writer at IRRI.

22 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 23


Rice yield trends in Asia over the past 50 years

% %
100 100
by Kenneth Bruskiewicz, Arnel Rala, Lorena Villano, and Andrew Nelson 90 Irrigated Rainfed 90
80 80
70 70

or the past 50 years, rice yield were almost uniformly low. In the 2000s, yield. But, for yield stability, this is less 60 60
in Asia has generally increased however, these colors turned to lighter of an issue. Stability from year to year is
from year to year. However, when green and blue as yield clearly increased. likely to be more related to other factors 50 50
we look at stability, the numbers Some regions, though, have stubbornly that also vary from year to year, such as 40 40
reflect variations in annual yield. The two low interannual stability (darker shades) drought, flooding, and pest and disease 30 30
maps below represent average rice yield in yield, and hence in production. outbreaks. 20 20
and its stability during the 1960s (bottom The graphs on the right show the
left) and the 2000s (bottom right). A percentage of rice area in Asia in the 10 10
bivariate legend represents both these 2000s that is cultivated under irrigated Mr. Bruskiewicz is a student at Brent 0 0
<2 2–4 >4 Low Medium High
factors in each map. As yield increases, or rainfed conditions. We calculated International School. He is in his
the color changes from brown to green, these percentages for regions where the graduating year and was a trainee Average yield (t/ha) Yield stability
and then blue. Meanwhile, an increase in average yield was below 2, between 2 and at the IRRI Geographic Information
Percentage of rice area under irrigated and rainfed conditions in the 2000s.
stability is represented by the transition 4, and above 4 tons per hectare (right) Systems (GIS) lab. Mr. Rala is an
of colors from dark to lighter shades. and for regions where yield stability was associate scientist, while Ms. Villano
The maps show the variation in rice either low, medium, or high ( far right). is a researcher in GIS, Social Sciences
yield trends across Asia. In the 1960s, The presence of irrigation explains Division. Dr. Nelson is a geographer in
the darker brown and green shades much of the spatial pattern in average GIS.
dominated since yield and yield stability yield—more irrigated area means higher

1960s 2000s




<2 2–4 >4
Yield (t/ha)

24 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 25

Greener rice by Jauhar Ali and Alaric Francis Santiaguel

Green Super Rice for the Resource-Poor of Africa and Asia aims for environmental
breakthroughs in agriculture with rice varieties that are more robust, high-yielding, and
disease-resistant, yet thrive with less water, fertilizer, and pesticide

ears of food shortages and society at the University
following the rice crisis of Essex in Colchester,
in 2007 and 2008 have England, as well as author of
prompted a dramatic several books on agricultural
shift in global trade and in sustainability.
economic and food security Commercial fertilizer to
policies. Nations have put more provide nutrients can be an
focus now on agriculture—a additional cost to farmers if
situation somewhat reminiscent not used strategically such as
of the events that led to the through site-specific nutrient
Green Revolution. management (SSNM).
A cornerstone of the During the Green
Green Revolution was the Revolution, global use of
new varieties of cereal crops pesticides rapidly increased to
developed through the efforts protect crops. But, excessive
of Norman Borlaug, the father and indiscriminate pesticide

rice research and development institute

of the Green Revolution. One use can adversely affect
of those varieties is IR8 rice, ecosystems and human health.
also known as “miracle rice,” Dr. Jauhar Ali, IRRI plant breeder and Green Super
developed 40 years ago at the Rice (GSR) project coordinator for Asia, shows that Endangered water
GSR varieties perform well under low-input and poor
International Rice Research environmental conditions while their yields remain Agricultural irrigation, another
Institute (IRRI). When grown comparable with those of other varieties grown leg on which the revolution
with irrigation and nitrogen- under optimal circumstances. stands, has also come under
rich fertilizers, IR8 produced fire. Many experts believe
more grains than traditional that the global water supply
varieties. IR8 changed the world food is dwindling fast. Additional pressure
situation according to Tom Hargrove, a varieties, but they require more nutrients from climate change, population
former communicator at IRRI. Indeed, in order to achieve their maximum growth, pollution, and higher industrial
the looming famines did not materialize yield potential. But, the heavy use of requirements is also contributing to a
since miracle rice was introduced, as chemical fertilizers can place a toll on possible massive water crisis.
well as other food varieties (see Breeding the environment. Some 30–80% of the It is estimated that rice uses 30%
history on pages 34-38 of Rice Today Vol. nitrogen applied to farmland escapes and of the fresh water for crops worldwide.
5, No. 4). enters water systems and the atmosphere In Asia, more than 80% of developed
and increases the incidence of some freshwater resources are used for
The high price of a miracle disease vectors1 according to a paper irrigating rice. However, in 2025, it is
Modern rice varieties can yield written by Jules Pretty, professor and estimated that 15–20 million hectares
significantly more than traditional rice pro-vice-chancellor of environment of irrigated rice will suffer from some

Pretty J. 2006. Agroecological approaches to agricultural development. Paper contribution to the preparation of the World Development Report 2008, “Agriculture for Development.”
35 p.

Rice Today January-March 2011 27

jauhar ali (2)
degree of water scarcity (see Every drop networks for complex traits, which Doing more with less Network for the Genetic Evaluation of seed agents have already been trained
counts on pages 17-18 of Rice Today, otherwise are incomplete in both parents. Rather than focusing on developing Rice. These “finished products” include through the project on how GSR varieties
Vol. 8, No. 3). It is therefore critical that Promising transgressive lines are one variety for all, GSR can be custom- GSR materials that are drought-tolerant can meet the needs of farmers from the
we use our water resources wisely and carefully pyramided for their nonallelic made to fit any target ecosystem. For and suitable for rainfed lowlands, and target sites.
efficiently. QTLs (or genes located at different loci example, GSR varieties can grow rapidly inbreds and hybrids with multiple disease To ensure that farmers will have
on the same chromosome or on different to compete strongly with weeds. Because and insect pest resistance. GSR-IRRI also a sufficient and steady source of GSR
An environment-friendly revolution chromosomes altogether) derived from they establish themselves much faster than released drought-tolerant, salinity-tolerant, materials, the project has provided
Can the world survive without the different donors for a given complex trait the weeds, herbicide—a luxury for poor submergence-tolerant, and high-yielding training to small- and medium-sized
intensified agricultural practices such as drought tolerance into popular farmers—becomes unnecessary. These varieties suitable for irrigated conditions. private companies in Bangladesh,
espoused by the Green Revolution? Can varieties such as IR64, Huang Hua Zhan, weed-tolerant GSR varieties performed The GSR project also promotes Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and
agriculture continue to feed the world BR11, and BG300, to name just a few. well in field trials in Bangladesh and are environment-friendly production Pakistan.
with fewer trade-offs? now undergoing further testing. technology such as SSNM (see Extension
The key is sustainable agricultural A new approach to standard Furthermore, the project has also goes mobile on pages 29-30 of Rice Sowing greener alternatives
systems, which means producing more breeding technology identified drought-tolerant GSR lines with Today Vol. 9, No. 4) and integrated crop In recent years, rice scientists have been
output from the same area of land while Dr. Zhikang Li, IRRI molecular geneticist and head In the past, breeders at IRRI used only IR64 as the recurrent parent. For example, management (ICM) to go with GSR forced to face the additional challenge of
of the GSR project, believes it is possible to combine
contributing to the maintenance of sustainable food production and environmental three recurrent parents, IR64, Teqing, IR83142-B-19-B, a GSR line, performs varieties. SSNM provides information balancing food security with preserving
clean water, carbon sequestration, flood preservation through GSR varieties. and IR68552-55-3-2, a new plant type better than Sahbhagi dhan under based on simple observations that natural resources and protecting the
protection, groundwater recharge, and variety backcrossed with 205 donor drought and zero-input (which means no enable rice farmers to tailor nutrient environment. For IRRI, the key is a doubly
landscape amenity value, said Prof. Pretty. parents. However, the GSR concept, fertilizers and no pesticides, and only one management to specific field conditions green revolution: the development and
Green Super Rice (GSR) for the rice varieties in the world due to its high which was well received and expanded manual weeding) conditions. (See Making and optimally supply rice with essential diffusion of conventional environment-
Resource-Poor of Africa and Asia, a yield. But, this variety is significantly in China under the China National Rice rice less thirsty on pages 12-15 of Rice nutrients at the right time (see Balancing friendly agricultural practices and
collaborative project between IRRI and affected by drought. Through the GSR Molecular Breeding Network, uses 46 Today Vol. 8, No. 3.) fertilizer use and profit on page 38 innovative varieties such as GSR.
the Chinese Academy of Agricultural project, plant breeders have developed recurrent parents. Crosses were made of Rice Today Vol. 7, No. 1). ICM is “I strongly believe that, through
Sciences (CAAS), offers a sustainable rice plants that are drought-tolerant but with 500 donors, resulting in a bigger Re-packaging agriculture a crop production system based on a GSR technology, it is possible to realize
way of producing food for the growing still have the desirable traits of IR64. pool of available genes—each of which In 2009, field trials conducted in good understanding of the interactions the highly efficient use of germplasm
population. Funded by the Bill & After 12 years of rigorous breeding, has also been submitted for complete Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, between biology, environment, and land resources while promoting sustainable
Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the GSR researchers learned that by genome re-sequencing to further Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and management. It aims to ensure food agricultural development and protecting
project aims to develop rice varieties subjecting a large number of backcrossed strengthen the molecular breeding efforts China showed several GSR varieties with production that conserves and even the environment for future generations,”
that retain their stable, sustainable second-generation lines (BC2F2) and of the GSR project. different promising traits. Seeds of 56 enhances natural resources. Dr. Li said.
yield potential even when grown with their succeeding generations to biotic At least 18 institutions and 125 GSR varieties with multiple resistance Prof. Pretty agrees. Productive
fewer inputs or under unfavorable and abiotic stresses, they could eliminate molecular breeders are currently involved to rice blast, rice planthoppers, and gall Spreading GSR and sustainable agricultural systems
environmental conditions. weak lines and identify promising in this project. Each participating midge were distributed to the GSR trial The GSR project has held several make the best of crop varieties and
transgressive segregants, which are lines organization in China and IRRI is countries for more thorough evaluation. discussions with policymakers and their agroecological and agronomic
Green super rice that exceed the performance range of working with one or two recurrent parents Some 106 GSR varieties are now researchers, and training courses and management, he said. “This new
Headed by Zhikang Li, IRRI molecular their parents under extreme conditions. and each one is subjecting all of its ready for seed exchange and germplasm workshops that focus on the technology. initiative from IRRI on GSR is welcome
geneticist who is based at CAAS, the They uncovered that this is due to advanced backcross breeding populations distribution through the International In Sri Lanka, for example, extension and as it fits these conditions and needs.”
GSR project’s breeding technology excellent complementation of genetic to insect pests such as planthoppers;
radically departs from the diseases such as rice blast,
original approach of the bacterial leaf blight, bacterial
Green Revolution, in which leaf streak, sheath blight, and
everything else took a back tungro; and abiotic stresses
seat to higher yield. Because such as drought, salinity,
modern varieties have been and flooding, among other
bred to respond to the best environmental conditions
possible field conditions, that limit rice production.
they do not reach their In addition to the
maximum yield potential BMGF funding, the Chinese
when nutrients, pest government invested more
management, and water are than US$20 million to give
not optimal. For example, Green Super Rice varieties growing at the National Agriculture and researchers the financial
IR64, developed at IRRI and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) in Laos are farmer- as well as muscle to develop and
environment-friendly because they require less use of expensive
released in 1985, became deliver the needed GSR Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
agrochemical inputs.
one of the most popular products to Asia and Africa.

To promote and encourage adoption of the GSR concept, the GSR project held several discussions with policy-
makers and researchers, and training courses and workshops on GSR technology in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri
McKinsey & Company. 2009. Charting our water future. USA: The 2030 Water Resources Group. 185 p. Lanka, Vietnam, and Pakistan.
Clay J. 2004. World agriculture and the environment: a commodity-by-commodity guide to impacts and practices. Washington, D.C. (USA): Island Press. 570 p.

28 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 29

o b i t uary

What’s cooking? cross between Yukara, a japonica variety,

and indica variety T(N)1. The first-
generation (F1) plants were designated
For all its strength, however, the Tong-
Il had major weaknesses. The variety was
susceptible to rice blast and was not cold

Sakkarai Pongal
as IR568. The following year, he made a tolerant (see Grappling with cold on pages
three-way cross using IR8 (as the female 20-23 of Rice Today Vol. 9, No. 1). In 1980,
parent) and IR568. The resulting F1 a cold snap and an outbreak of the disease
hybrids were named IR667. Dr. Heu and created such havoc in rice production that
A tasty Tamil confection a team of scientists from Korea’s Rural
Development Administration (RDA) grew
it caused a large shortage. The Tong-Il
variety finally disappeared in 1993 after the
the second-generation (F2) progenies and Korean government ended its program of
Mun-Hue Heu made pedigree selections for advancing purchasing rice from farmers and started

generations at IRRI. Through the IRRI- recommending other rice varieties. Tong-Il
aseema Banu, spouse of Dr. Jauhar

chris quintana
RDA shuttle breeding program, the is now “just a memory,” someone once
Ali, a scientist in the Plant Breeding, Father of the Korean selected progenies were advanced through remarked. But, it certainly did not diminish
Genetics, and Biotechnology Division the F7 generation. The resulting breeding Dr. Heu’s place in his country’s recent
at the International Rice Research Green Revolution line, IR667-98-1-2-213-1, was released in history.
Institute, and a pharmacist herself (she is a life Korea as “Tong-Il” in 1973. The development of Tong-Il rice
member of the Indian Council of Pharmacy), makes by Kshirod K. Jena The variety, also known as Korea’s was named as one of the most important
this scrumptious snack for family and guests. miracle rice, was short, sturdy, and scientific achievements in the 20th
resistant to many pests and diseases. Its century in South Korea by Chosun Ilbo,

“Pongal,” she says, “is a harvest festival widely
celebrated by Tamil farmers in the Indian state of et’s increase food production yield potential of 5.13 tons per hectare one of the country’s highly respected
without letting land stand was 28% higher than that of the japonica newspapers. More importantly, Dr. Heu
Tamil Nadu and also in Sri Lanka to give thanks
idle,” Park Chung-Hee, then variety that was widely cultivated helped put rice on the table at a time
to the sun god for the abundance of their harvest.”
president of the Republic at that time. It was initially released when the Korean people didn’t know
Pongal, which also marks the first day of Tamizh on of Korea (South Korea), challenged his commercially in 1973, followed by other where their next meal would come from.
the Tamil calendar, means “boiling or spilling over” people in 1961. Following the devastations Tong-Il-type varieties that led to Korea’s He also demonstrated the power of
in the Tamil language. The expression refers to the of the Korean War, the president Green Revolution. plant breeding and unlocked the wide
preparation of Pongal rice, a porridge dish unique rallied the country to fight yet another President Park Chung-Hee strongly possibilities for the development of
to Tamil cuisine and traditionally prepared for the battle—against widespread hunger and supported Tong-Il rice and predicted that modern rice varieties.
harvest festival. malnutrition. Instead of guns and bullets, South Korea would be self-sufficient in “Successful cultivation of Tong-Il-
According to the ritual, rice is boiled with milk he aimed to increase its rice production. rice by 1976 if all rice farmers adopted the type rice set new milestones for future
and other ingredients in a new clay pot over an And, at the forefront of this war was not variety and new production technologies. improvement of rice varieties in Korea
a highly decorated military general but a The high yield of Tong-Il-type varieties and also offered practical opportunities
open fire. The milk is allowed to boil and spill over
scientist named Mun-Hue Heu. helped boost rice production in the to use indica germplasm in temperate
the pot to symbolize overflowing abundance and 1
Dr. Heu was a remarkable plant country by as much as 40%. By 1979, countries,” Dr. Heu wrote.
future prosperity for the family. breeder who demonstrated great skills, Tong-Il-type varieties had increased Dr. Heu passed away on 24
dedication, and passion for his work. He milled rice production from 3.9 tons per November in Seoul at age 83 with his
joined IRRI as a visiting scientist in 1965 hectare in 1970 to 5.6 tons per hectare, beloved wife, Hyuk-Mae Kwon, and
Ingredients Cooking directions and then became a plant breeder from enabling South Korea to achieve self- children at his side. His death was
• Rice (uncooked) 1 cup 1. Combine the uncooked rice, milk, and dhal in a pressure 1980 to 1982. He received encouragement sufficiency in rice production. mourned not only by his immediate
• Milk 1 cup cooker. Add 3 cups of water and boil for 20–30 minutes from the then IRRI director general, family but by the whole
• Grated coconut ½ cup until the rice and dhal mixture is cooked. Mash the Robert Chandler, to develop high- nation because of the
• Jaggery (unrefined brown sugar) 300 grams ingredients thoroughly. Set aside. yielding rice varieties for South Korea. legacy that this legendary
• Green gram or mungbean dhal 50 grams 2. Mix the jaggery with ¼ cup of water in a heavy-bottomed With IRRI’s assistance, Dr. Heu brought scientist left behind. His
• Cashews and raisins 20 grams saucepan and heat it on a low flame until the sugar melts the Green Revolution to South Korea. He achievements in agriculture
• Cardamom (crushed) 4 pieces completely. Strain the syrup to remove any impurities. was, in fact, hailed as the Father of the and in improving food
• Butter 2 tablespoons 3. Combine the cooked rice, dhal mixture, and brown sugar Korean Green Revolution. security in his country will
• Water 3 1/4 cups syrup while stirring slowly. Add the grated coconut and Dr. Heu was instrumental in live forever.
crushed cardamom. Allow to boil for a few minutes. Set developing Tong-Il (“reunification”)-type
aside. rice, a modern variety that helped Korea Tong-Il, Korea’s "miracle rice,"
achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.

Moises John Reyes

This recipe is good for four people. 4. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium-high with its yield potential of 5 tons
heat. Fry the cashews, followed by the raisins, and use In 1965, Dr. Heu, while working with per hectare, played a major role
in enabling the country to achieve
them as a garnish. Dr. Hank Beachell, then head of IRRI’s self-sufficiency in rice production in
Plant Breeding Division, made the first the 1970s.

In a 4:36 video on YouTube at http://snipurl.com/1li8iu, Ms. Banu gives step-by-step instructions on how to prepare 1
Heu MH, Moon HP. 2010. History of rice culture in Korea: the origin, antiquity and diffusion. In: Sharma SD, editor. Rice: origin, antiquity and history. Enfield, N.H. (USA):
this delectable dish. Science Publishers. p 115-153.

30 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 31

M a historic
ore than 1,100 delegates
from around the world IRRI and Nine World Food Prize Laureates who have worked, served, or studied at IRRI,

or have partnered with the Institute
gathered in Des Moines,
Iowa, last 13-15 October, the World 1987: Dr. Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, IRRI director general
(1982-88), received the first World Food Prize for spearheading the
to honor the 2010 World Food Prize
(WFP) laureates David Beckmann and
Jo Luck. There were also numerous side-
Food Prize: introduction of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties to India’s farmers.
1988: Dr. Robert F. Chandler, Jr., IRRI’s first director
events, including the Norman E. Borlaug general (1960-71), was recognized for his leadership in
International Symposium, which focused by Gene Hettel founding IRRI and spurring an international network
on “Taking it to the farmer: reaching the of agricultural research centers, ultimately the CGIAR.

irri archives (9)

world’s smallholders,” and recognition 1994: Dr. Muhammad Yunus, IRRI Board member
of the International Rice Research Dr. Zeigler pointed out, “A vast International Development (USAID) (1989-94), was recognized for his original
Institute (IRRI) for its five decades of majority of the world’s rice production administrator, said, “We are working approach to promoting the economic and social
achievement and its historic bond to is supplied by very small-scale with the Consultative Group on empowerment of the poorest citizens of Bangladesh, specifically
numerous WFP laureates. farmers—200 million farmers in Asia International Agricultural Research women and children.
During the symposium, Ambassador alone. However, what is extremely (CGIAR) to support their new ‘mega- 1996: Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, IRRI breeder and
Kenneth Quinn, president of the World exciting from a research institute programs’ [of which the Global Rice principal scientist (1967-2001), and Dr. Henry Beachell,
Food Prize Foundation, recognized perspective is that farmers are getting Science Partnership (GRiSP) will be IRRI plant breeder (1963-72), were recognized for their
IRRI’s 50th anniversary and its long list SEVENTEEN Video clips of the WFP events can be access to tools of communication unlike the first one to be funded starting in contributions to ensuring that growing populations
found on YouTube at http://irri.org/WFP_videos.
of achievements. He particularly noted before. This new accessible means January 2011]. These programs focus in Asia and around the world would be supported by
the nine WFP laureates (see box, page 33) of communication will completely on high-potential research into new sufficient rice supplies.
who have worked, served, or studied at most recent publications, and various revolutionize smallholder rice production seed varieties, effective agricultural 2002: Dr. Pedro A. Sanchez, who
IRRI, or have partnered with the Institute historic videos about IRRI, including on a global level.” policy reforms, and better water and soil did his PhD thesis work at IRRI in soils (1965-67), was recognized for
over the years. A kaleidoscope of achievements, One of the keynote speakers, Jeff management practices. We have doubled developing pioneering ways to restore some of the world’s poorest
Aryo Feldman and Mariafe recognition, and opinions, 1960-2010 Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates our investment in these mega-programs, and most degraded soils, while offering great hope to all those
Calingacion, two Monsanto Beachell- (http://irri.blip.tv/file/3428017) and a Foundation (BMGF), talked about the making us [USAID] the single largest struggling to survive on marginal lands around the world.
Borlaug International Program 1994 dialogue between the father of package of six BMGF grants (totaling supporter of the CGIAR.” 2004: Prof. Yuan Longping, director general of
scholars, whom IRRI is currently the WFP, Norman Borlaug, and the just over US$300 million) that span the Also, former U.N. Secretary- the China National Hybrid Rice Research and
hosting, attended the gatherings of their second laureate, Robert Chandler, about agricultural value chain. “Two years in, General Kofi Annan told the delegates Development Center, and Dr. Monty Jones,
12 fellow Beachell-Borlaug scholars the origins of IRRI (http://youtu.be/ these grants are having a direct impact on that discrimination against women former senior rice breeder at WARDA (now
to compare notes on their work. Mr. TW8hpPi0rqI). hundreds of thousands of farm families is hampering the development of AfricaRice), both long-time IRRI partners, were
Feldman (photo below left), a British- During the Borlaug Dialogue, and are on track to reach their goals,” agriculture in Africa, his native recognized for making independent miraculous
Indonesian, is involved in IRRI’s C4 rice IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler he stated. The example he gave was continent. “We cannot forget that the breakthroughs that bettered the lives of countless human beings.
project, which is looking to introduce joined in a conversation on Partnering the BMGF grant for IRRI’s work on women who produce most of Africa’s 2006: Dr. Colin A. McClung (at left in photo with Robert Chandler),
characteristics of the C4 photosynthetic with smallholders on strategies for food submergence-tolerant Sub1 rice. “By food are particularly disadvantaged IRRI assistant director (1964-66) and associate director (1967-71), was
pathway of crops such as maize into rice, security (http://youtu.be/fxzPh-P6MYQ) the end of this year, more than 400,000 economically and socially,” said Annan, recognized for his vital role in transforming the Cerrado—a region of
which, if achieved, could significantly with ( from left in photo below right) farmers will be planting this rice and, now chairman of the Alliance for a Green vast, once infertile tropical high plains stretching across Brazil—into
raise the potential yield of tropical rice. Gabriela Cruz, a fourth-generation by 2017, more than 20 million farmers Revolution in Africa. highly productive cropland.
Ms. Calingacion (photo below center), farmer and president of the Portuguese will benefit from it, and that is tangible During the WFP ceremonies at the
a Filipina, is breaking new frontiers Association for Soil Conservation; Jose progress!” he added. Iowa State Capitol on 14 October, Ms.
in phenotyping to understand the Fernandez, U.S. assistant secretary Another keynote speaker, Rajiv Lauren Schefter of Mount Vernon, Iowa, Award for her work as an intern at IRRI’s James Hill (IRRI agronomist, 1988-89
compounds that confer the quality traits of state for economics, energy, and Shah, United States Agency for was presented with the Elaine Szymoniak Grain Quality, Nutrition, and Postharvest and 1999-2002), Ronnie Coffman (IRRI
of aroma, flavor, and taste in rice. business affairs; and Matt Kistler Center during the summer of 2009. Her plant breeder, 1971-81), Dennis Garrity
In addition, an IRRI exhibit ( far right), senior vice president experiments dealt mainly with sensory (IRRI agronomist, 1981-92), and Prabhu

gene hettel
conversation on Partnering with smallholders
displayed posters on the work of Mr. for sustainability, Wal-Mart. Sean on strategies for food security. characteristics—amylose content, gel Pingali (IRRI economist, 1987-96).
Feldman and Ms. Calingacion, the de Cleene, vice president of Yara temperature, gel consistency, and texture. David Beckmann and Jo Luck
Institute’s historic achievements, its International, was the moderator. The WFP events also provided a received the 2010 World Food Prize
venue for a veritable reunion of past for their landmark achievements in
IRRI staff members who participated building Bread for the World and Heifer
chris quintana (2)

in the keynotes, conversations, and International into two of the world’s

seminars, including M.S. Swaminathan foremost grass-roots organizations
(1987 WFP Laureate and IRRI director leading the charge to end hunger and
general, 1982-88), Gurdev Khush (1996 poverty for millions of people around
WFP Laureate and IRRI rice breeder and the globe. In honoring them, the World
principal scientist, 1967-2001), Mahabub Food Prize recognizes the critical efforts
Hossain (IRRI economist and Social of NGOs in mobilizing and empowering
Sciences Division head, 1992-2007), everyday citizens to end hunger in
Aryo Feldman Mariafe Calingacion
Robert Herdt (IRRI economist, 1973-83), communities around the world.

32 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 33

the rice trader (5)
through the 2008 rice crisis—partially in supporting investments in rice
because of some policy initiatives that production after the 2008 food crisis, the
reduced the cost of importation and real challenge of building infrastructure
by V. Subramanian helped maintain rice’s affordability and marketing (and distribution)
among the local population. Notably, channels for African rice, as well as
trade representatives, such as Olam the competitiveness of local production
International, Atlas Trading and against imported alternatives, would
Shipping, Export Trading Co., and reveal the full extent of Africa’s success
Regent International, all agreed that in the long term.
African consumers are becoming more
sophisticated and are now more sensitive More support for rice
to the quality of their rice. In its effort to sustain support for rice
A changing retail environment research and development, TRT donated
that also sees some consolidation in another US$10,000 to the International
the wholesale sector could offer new Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Mr.
Rice traders see a bumpy road in 2011 as opportunities for investors and traders Zwinger, who is also the publisher of
financial risks and climate change rocked alike. Frédéric Lançon of the French Rice Today, presented the check to Dr.
International Rice & Products Co., Ltd., bagged Agricultural Research Centre for Samarendu Mohanty, head of IRRI’s
the markets of 2010 the World’s Best Rice Award 2010 for its Thai jasmine International Development (CIRAD), Social Sciences Division, who was also
however, expressed concern about the invited as a speaker at the conference.
investment challenges in production, The other highlights of the event
traders more cautious and reluctant in marketing, and development of both were the awarding of the second annual

ew risk elements and climate commercially oriented views from decision to stay out of the market sent making buying and stocking decisions. infrastructure and African consumers World’s Best Rice 2010 competition to
change dominated the traders. These traders, who are involved prices significantly lower—compared to Experts representing African (especially the poor who remain International Rice & Products Co., Ltd.,
proceedings of The Rice Trader’s in key African import markets, revealed the price hikes induced by the series of demand also revealed more caution affected by higher food costs). He Thailand, for its Thai jasmine rice, and
(TRT) second World Rice the concerns of buyers that represent Philippine tenders announced in the third as African imports and consumption noted that although there is an increase the presentation of the Lord of Rice
Conference in Phuket, Thailand, 12-14 both the public and private sector within quarter of 2009—during the early part have grown considerably—even in government and donor interest Award to Chef Enrique Diaz.
October 2010. In 2009, the market was the global rice trade. Furthermore, the of 2010.
rocked by the surge of Philippine demand conference saw the “Big 5” exporters In India’s place, however,
after Typhoon Ketsana destroyed much reveal expectations for 2011. Exporters Bangladesh and Indonesia came in
of the country’s crops. The following (and millers) from Thailand, Vietnam, with a large demand in tow. This has Bangladesh’s Additional Secre-
year saw more nations struggle with the Pakistan, the U.S., and India were joined created a bullish scenario for 2011, even tary for the Food Division (Ministry
of Food and Disaster Management)
impacts of climate change. China first by representatives from the emerging though India’s output has recovered on Abdul Awal Howlader provides
battled against drought during the early export markets of Myanmar and the back of a better monsoon in 2010. insights into Bangladesh’s active
part of the year, and then with floods. Cambodia to paint a picture of supply, Indonesia and Bangladesh are expected role in the market in 2010, and
even in 2011.
Inclement weather also spread across the availability, and export potential, as the to continue to play an active role in 2011
Asian region, bringing the worst floods in audience measured intelligence from that should heat up the global markets
years to Pakistan and even to Thailand. both supply and demand to develop views as they purchase strategic stocks and
Untimely rains also affected crop output on the possible shape of price, as well as supplies needed to sustain food security
in Cambodia and Indonesia. These tips the “critical control points” within the requirements and cool local markets
in the balance of rice production pushed global rice supply chain that need to be where prices have been rising (as was the Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
countries to seek measures that would watched as supply and availability unfold case for Indonesia in 2010). Ed Schafer talks about food security
ensure long-term food security both with each harvest. Africa, in the meantime, was Chef Enrique Diaz (center) receives the Lord of Rice Award from and the role of the rice industry.
TRT CEO/President Jeremy Zwinger (left) and Mr. Wong King Lun
nationally and regionally. To make things considered lucky to have stocked up Alan Herman (right), who received the World’s Best Rice Award
more complicated, fluctuations of the 2010 in a nutshell on imported rice during the April to 2010 on behalf of International Rice & Products Co., Ltd.
U.S. dollar and euro affected currencies TRT President/CEO and conference September 2010 period when prices
around the world. And, as if that was not chairman Jeremy Zwinger revealed that were relatively lower. Interestingly, the
enough, Russia and the Black Sea region 2010 was initially dominated by India’s dollar and euro revealed more volatility
banned wheat exports, further fracturing no-show as an importer. He said that while prices for commodity futures
the global cereal supply. India’s strategy to risk relying on its and in energy markets rose during the
Attended by 423 delegates from 42 own stocks after drought cut its overall second half of 2010. The behavior of the
countries, the conference once again rice production for 2009-10 down to European currency showed the impact
featured extensive analysis of demand 89 million tons from 99 million tons in of debt issues in the region and how the
and supply scenarios from leading 2008-09 and bank on recovery from the fluctuations have affected the purchasing
analysts. It also added critical views monsoon in 2010 to boost output back up power of several African nations whose
from major importing countries such to a more comfortable level was “one of currencies were pegged to the euro. Risk
as Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines, the biggest bets taken in the history of was the key feature that has clouded even
and Bangladesh as well as the more the rice industry.” Consequently, India’s the best analyst’s crystal ball, making

34 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 35

Africa shifts its focus to producing quality rice 1. Brightly colored bags of imported rice

R. Raman, AfricaRice (1,2,3)

1 2
dominate shops in many cities across Africa.
to AfricaRice. More than 200 national
2. The poor quality of local rice is a major scientists and extension agents were
to support local farmers and reduce the region’s problem faced by rice consumers in many African trained in rice postharvest technology
countries. and grain quality management under this
dependence on rice imports 3. Dr. Manful John (left), AfricaRice grain quality
expert, is passionate about the need to improve
the quality of local rice.
AfricaRice continues to do research
4. Experimental auctions help scientists find out on the acceptability of new rice varieties
consumers' perceptions about different types of among consumers and the efficiency of
rice and the price they would be willing to pay processing methods. Farmer-learning

he rice plant produces “This is good news; however, we for them. videos that address grain quality and
only rice seeds; it does not should realize that it is not only the processing have been developed and
produce sand, stones, or quantity but also the quality of African studies have shown their positive impacts
other foreign materials,” rice that is going to be crucial to allow With support from USAID, on rural women.
Dr. Tareke Berhe from Ethiopia wryly it to compete with the imported rice AfricaRice has carried out a series of As part of its new focus on demand
observed, referring to the low quality of from Asia,” stated Dr. John Manful, studies in collaboration with the Nigerian issues, AfricaRice is trying to improve
local rice sold in parts of sub-Saharan AfricaRice grain quality expert. Institute of Social and Economic the quality of local rice by collaborating
Africa. According to Dr. Manful, rice Research to better understand the factors with farmers and processors to develop
Dr. Berhe, who has long been research in Africa has mostly focused 4 explaining consumers’ shift to imported their capacity for processing, packaging,
associated with rice development in on the development of technologies to rice in Nigeria. and branding of local rice.
the region, promotes “from plant to increase production. “But rice, unlike Issues related to rice quality and
plate,” an approach that emphasizes the most other cereals, is consumed as a how this affects consumers’ preference Local rice auctions
significance of all the components in the whole grain,” he said. “Therefore, its for local and imported rice were also An innovative program by Dr. Matty
rice value chain, namely, input, supply, physical properties such as size, shape, examined, as local rice was often cheaper Demont, AfricaRice economist, and his
processing, and marketing. uniformity, and look are of utmost by 30% or more than imported rice, team in Senegal, in collaboration with
In Africa, rice has become an importance.” mainly because of its lack of cleanliness. the University of Ghent, is conducting
increasingly popular food as it is tasty Grain quality does not just depend The studies recommended a experimental auctions to find out

Maïmouna Ndour, AfricaRice

and quick to cook. However, most of the on the variety of rice, but also on the comprehensive approach to revitalize the consumers’ perceptions of the different
rice eaten on the continent is actually crop production environment, harvesting, Nigerian rice sector by improving the types of rice and the price they would
imported from Asia. African-grown processing, and milling systems. efficiency of operators at the stages of be willing to pay for them. Most of the
rice has failed to compete with imports Considerable amounts of rice produced production, processing, and marketing. women surveyed preferred the local
because large-scale local rice production get lost in inefficient postharvest They emphasized quality and branding to quality rice and are willing to pay more

Qualit y
has been weak and urban consumers have systems in many African countries. increase the competitiveness of local rice. for it.
become used to the grain and sensory “Quantitative postharvest losses The comprehensive strategy was As a development component of
qualities of imported rice. One of the in rice in Africa are estimated to presented to the stakeholders and the this research, in March 2010, AfricaRice
major challenges for Africa is therefore be between 15% and 25%, while Nigerian government. It was integrated organized a workshop in which
how to produce sufficient and affordable qualitative losses, which are estimated as a major component of the country’s stakeholders of the Senegalese rice

rice that suits the preferences of its by the price differential between presidential initiative on rice production, sector were asked to construct a virtual
fast-growing and increasingly urbanized imported and locally produced rice, processing, and export in Nigeria, which enterprise with a strategic action plan
population. range from 15% to 50%,” Dr. Manful raised awareness on the need for public for bringing a quality rice brand to the
explained. “It is important to reduce such support to stimulate rice production and market.
Grain quality losses and ensure a top-quality product reduce dependence on imports. Inspired by this experiment, 14
In the wake of the food crisis in 2008 that that our consumers will want to buy.” Under this initiative, rice imports Senegalese rice importers launched a
sparked riots in several African cities, by Savitri Mohapatra were subjected to a high import duty joint venture in November 2010 with
several member countries of the Africa Preference for imports (over 100%) and subsidies were provided producers and processors to promote and
Rice Center (AfricaRice) adopted key Recent experiences in several to facilitate access to seed (50%) and market Senegal rice. The company aims
policy measures recommended by the countries in the region show that prefer imported rice. Bags of imported Support for local rice fertilizers (25%). to buy all the rice grown in the Senegal
Center in 2007 to support the rice sector African consumers are becoming more rice dominate shops and restaurants in Several countries, however, have started River Valley—the main rice-growing
by ensuring farmers’ access to high- demanding when it comes to their rice. cities, and local rice is difficult to find. focusing on improving the milling, Partnership with Japan area in the country—and then mill it and
quality rice seed and other basic farm For example, the Benin government has Locally milled rice is generally of packaging, and marketing of local Since the beginning of its establishment, market it to Senegalese consumers.
inputs. announced that it is planning to sell most poor quality and is consumed mainly in rice, and developing public awareness AfricaRice has given importance to “The company is planning to govern
Such support coupled with good of the rice (about 160,000 tons) produced rural areas. Often, it tends to have stones campaigns to promote it. In Ghana, for rice postharvest processing and grain quality along the value chain through
weather contributed to an 18% increase this year to Nigeria, because domestic and people don’t have time to clean their example, a marketing campaign called quality with support from Japan. The detailed quality contracts with milling
in Africa’s rice production in 2008 consumers prefer imported rice. rice before cooking it. Even when it is “Eat Ghana Rice” was recently launched Japan International Cooperation Agency factories and farmers,” explained Dr.
compared with 2007. For the 2009-10 Similarly, Senegal produced about of acceptable quality, it doesn’t sell well to encourage people to buy local rice. (JICA) helped establish a Grain Quality Demont. “We are happy that our work
crop season, the Food and Agriculture 500,000 tons of rice in 2009, but most in cities, where consumers have been The successful campaign included Laboratory in AfricaRice’s headquarters is helping farmers add value to the local
Organization of the United Nations urban consumers considered it inferior used to imported rice. For some people, advertisements in newspapers, on radio, in Côte d’Ivoire and, for many years, rice, raise farmers’ incomes, improve
estimated double-digit growth in rice to imported rice. In many African eating imported rice has become a status and on billboards showing the president JICA postharvest processing and rice quality, and expand the market for
production in several countries. countries, the urban populations tend to symbol. eating local rice. grain quality experts were seconded locally produced goods.”

36 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 37

No rust for r ce
by Linda McCandless
In 2010, in Turkey, Iran,
Ethiopia, and other countries in
Africa, the Middle East, and Asia,
stripe rust, or yellow rust, has
been the scourge of local farmers,
“In other words, although
the rust pathogens can induce a
response from the rice plant, they
cannot complete their spore-
producing life cycle on rice,” says
disrupting yields and causing food Dr. Leung.
The increasing failure of the A scientific puzzle
world’s wheat crop in the face of In the northwest region of China,
increasingly virulent forms of yellow rust is the most serious
wheat rusts such as stem rust and problem for wheat production. For
yellow rust has created a renewed IRRI researcher Vance Lacorte (left) this reason, Drs. Kang and Wang
interest in the wheat community in and Jian Liu, a visiting scholar from focus on screening rice mutants
China National Rice Research Institute,
examining the one crop—rice— examine rare mutations that may that are sensitive to yellow rust.
resistant to the terrible disease. explain rust resistance. They have found that some mutants
Under the US$26.8 million- appear to allow a greater degree of
funded Durable Rust Resistance in could be formed in the inoculated rice colonization by yellow rust.
Wheat (DRRW) project, Dr. Leung is tissue, the extension of hyphae in rice The research team’s top priority
now in the third year of the program to tissues was limited compared with that in 2011 is to determine whether
explore rice immunity to rust. Financially observed in wheat leaf tissue. susceptibility to rust is genetically
supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates The next question is whether controlled. If so, these rust-sensitive
Foundation and directed by Ronnie all rice varieties behave like this. mutants could reveal what genetic
Coffman, at Cornell University, Dr. Steffenson and his team at the mechanisms are responsible for the
the project involves more than 17 University of Minnesota are approaching immunity of rice to rust.
institutional partners worldwide. this question by looking at a large Dr. Leung emphasizes that a team
number of rice germplasm accessions approach is important to resolving this
Dr. Hei Leung (right), IRRI scientist, explains Team of experts maintained in IRRI’s genebank. So far, scientific puzzle and that it has important
the screening of rice germplasm and mutants to
understand why rice is resistant to rust species. Dr. Leung’s colleagues on the project they have evaluated more than 9,000 practical applications. “Understanding
are spread out across the world: Shiping rice cultivars and landraces for their what constitutes long-term immunity
Wang and Zhensheng Kang at Huazhong reaction to a mixture of rust pathogens. is good for all cereals,” says Dr. Leung.
Agricultural University and Northwest None of the accessions tested exhibited “We want to discover what genes render
Scientists embark on a quest to discover what makes rice resistant to rust disease and Agriculture and Forestry University any sporulating uredinia, the process rice nonsusceptible to rust. Such a
replicate the trait in other cereal crops in China, Yinong Yang at Penn State in which the erumpent, volcano-like genetic mechanism could also be useful
University, Mick Ayliffe at Australia's pustules (uredinia) produce and release for fighting rice diseases.”
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial urediniospores. However, more than 300 Sarah Nell Davidson, the associate

heat gets rust. Maize (corn) gets Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, In susceptible plants, rust cuts off Research Organisation, Brian Steffenson accessions exhibited responses similar to director of the DRRW, agrees:
rust. Also barley, millet, triticale, Philippines, focuses his research on rice the plants’ ability to photosynthesize at the University of Minnesota, and Yue those of resistant hosts to the respective “Imparting nonhost resistance to wheat
and oats. In fact, all cereals, genetic diversity and discovery, and nutrients in their leaves and transport Jin at the United States Department of rusts, that is, brown or white “flecks” or, and other cereals could be the ultimate
except rice, are susceptible to rust. meeting the needs of future generations nutrients in their stems. Infection by Agriculture. in some cases, larger lesions. durable solution to the devastating family
Rust is a disease that suffocates a for rice genetic resources. rusts causes stems to weaken and plants All the network partners have of rusts.”
plant’s photosynthetic process, rendering “It’s not that rice does not get rust,” to “lodge,” or fall over, making what critical roles to play in looking for rice Rice mutants that are For farmers, discovering what leads
the crop weak and unable to provide good says Dr. Leung. “Rather, rice does not little yield there is nearly impossible to mutants that are sensitive to rust. Using susceptible to multiple to rust resistance in rice and transferring
diseases may reveal the
yields. succumb to the disease even when it harvest. microscopic techniques, Dr. Ayliffe in genetic basis of immunity
that knowledge to other crops could lead
Rice, the “stainless steel” among encounters the rust pathogen. For most Australia examines how different rust to rust. to stable resistance in wheat and other
cereal grasses, has long intrigued rice accessions, there is no macroscopic A dreaded plant disease pathogens behave when they land on cereals.
plant breeders and plant pathologists. evidence of rust colonization. Rice is a Wheat rust is one of the world’s most the rice leaf. Most of the uredospores he “If we can identify the source of
Norman Borlaug, the father of the true nonhost of most rust species.” dreaded plant diseases. A source of observed could germinate and form germ resistance in rice and transfer that to
Green Revolution and patriarch of Millions of yellow- or rust-colored plagues since Biblical times, rust tubes on the rice leaf surface within 12 wheat, we will be able to avoid the
modern wheat varieties, believed that, uredospores (the asexual spores) of more devastated the wheat crop in North hours of inoculation. At this time, a few boom-and-bust rust cycles that are so
by discovering the genes that make rice than 4,000 species of rust fungi are borne America as recently as 1953. Since 1998, infection sites with a substomatal vesicle devastating to food security,” says Dr.
immune to rusts, scientists might be able around the world and carried by the wind Ug99, a form of stem rust, has been could be detected at a low frequency. Leung. “We will be able to take care of
to introduce these genes into other cereal and jet stream. They land on a host plant devastating wheat farmers’ fields in East Dr. Ayliffe observed that the germ tube Ug99 and, perhaps, future Ug99s.”
grains such as wheat and maize. like wheat or maize, germinate, and then Africa, and is even now marching toward of the rust fungus penetrated the rice
grow toward a stomatal pore on the leaf the world’s breadbasket in the Middle stoma directly without the formation
Quest for discovery surface to initiate infection. East and South Asia, particularly India. of appressoria. Subsequently, infection Ms. McCandless is the director of com-

chris quintana (3)

Finding out what makes rice resistant Rust infections produce red or It threatens to disrupt food security for hyphae were formed on the substomatal munications for international programs
to rust is Hei Leung’s quest. This plant yellow pustulating uredospores that the millions of people who depend upon vesicle and the hyphae grew intercellularly of the College of Arts and Sciences at
pathologist at the International Rice give infected plants a “rusty” look. wheat as a staple. in the rice tissue. Although large colonies Cornell University.

38 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 39

Rat busters

Rona Niña mae Rojas (2)

Rat traps
After two-and-a-half hours of braving the
vertical pathways to Belwang, the group
was finally welcomed by the villagers.
The group divided into three teams
to set up 70 rat traps in and around
by Rona Niña Mae Rojas
the village houses, rice terraces, and
citrus fruit orchards. The farmers
IRRI’s rodent management team braves the rough mountains enthusiastically assisted the team in
setting up the traps, pointing out areas
of the north to help farmers save their crops from rats where rodents were frequently seen.
Mr. Boller believes that this activity is a
useful hands-on exercise for the farmers

in rat-trapping techniques. “It took away

Rolf Boll
here was simply no turning The IRRI van carefully navigates through the The outbreak their fear from the ‘unknown’ animal,” 1 2
back—literally—for the rodent landslide that blocked the path to home. The Through a farmer field school in he shares. “It was an important step 1. Dr. Grant Singleton (left) and Vincent Sluydts (right) hold up a sketch of the terraces in Belwang village
management team from the narrow road flanked by a mountain wall and a agroforestry, the village farmers started towards knowing your ‘enemy’ first.”
cliff made the trek perilous. to draw insights from farmers and help them identify their cropping patterns and practices.
International Rice Research organic farming of citrus fruits to take Early the next day, the traps caught 2. Holding up a "good rat" caught during the trapping activity, Dr. Singleton shows the participants the
physical characteristics of beneficial species Rattus everetti.
Institute (IRRI) as the group headed advantage of the mountain’s soil quality. five different rat species. Three are pest
to the remote mountaintop village of The village had a successful run in its species (Rattus tanezumi, R. exulans, and
Belwang in Sadanga, Mountain Province, citrus fruit plantation for 3 years, helping Mus musculus), whereas two (R. everetti population dynamics, and the possible now know that synchronous planting
Philippines. Flanked by rock walls on boost farmers’ incomes. and Chrotomys whiteheadi) are species methods to manage their population. The would benefit the whole community
one side and a steep drop on the other, Although damages caused by rats that are beneficial to rice crops. team explained that the native species R. because it allows harvesting to happen
the IRRI van carefully traversed the were observed in the previous planting everetti and C. whiteheadi are beneficial at the same time, thus limiting food
Rolf Boller

narrow roads that made every turn and seasons, the rats didn’t start to attack the The guilty ones since they feed on insects, earthworms, availability for rats. A continuous food
swerve along the Cordillera Mountain village crops on a massive scale until Around 100 people participated in and golden apple snails. Some farmers supply leads to significant rat population
Range in the Philippines a daring game 2009, resulting in heavy losses to both the training course. With inputs from were surprised when they learned that the growth.
with fate. rats attack on pages 44-45 of Rice Today rice and citrus farmers. As many as 27% the farmers themselves, Dr. Singleton beneficial species would be freed after Another farmer, Dominga Gayaden,
The group was led by rodent ecology Vol. 8, No. 4). of the citrus trees were damaged and, constructed the farmers’ cropping the training course. One farmer quickly explains, “We have to solve our problems
expert and Irrigated Rice Research Belwang village is home to around by 2010, rice yield losses reached an calendar. The interactive course associated this with the justice system: together as a community because we are
Consortium (IRRC) coordinator Grant 115 families who rely heavily on the alarming 30–50%. determined the size of the farmers’ three pest species were tried and found also the ones who are most affected.” Her
Singleton. With him were PhD scholar produce from their land. Their main crop DA and SADC then decided to seek rice lands, their expected average guilty, but the other beneficial rats did not fellow farmers couldn’t agree more.
Nyo Me Htwe and wildlife biologists is heirloom rice, the native rice variety help in tackling the chronic problem of crop yield, and actual yield after rat eat rice and were therefore innocent and
Harvey Garcia and Vincent Sluydts. of the region (see The seed keeper’s rodent infestations. Mr. Boller got in infestation. Rodents were identified as free to go. Roadblocks and sunny days
treasure on pages 12-15 of Rice Today touch with Dr. Singleton and asked him the major pest in upland rice production. Dr. Singleton and his team acknowledge
Irony in the terraces Vol. 9, No. 4), which is planted in just to train the farmers in Belwang. The participants made a detailed A mobilized community that more research has to be conducted
From Sadanga town proper, the IRRI one season, from January to March, decision analysis of their existing crop Armed with a better understanding of on the rice terraces of Mountain
group set out on foot for the village and harvested from July to September. management strategies, including rat- rodent pest species and the methods Province. The rodent management
of Belwang. They were accompanied According to local farmer Banawag The majestic rice terraces of the Mountain trapping methods. All farmers conducted to manage them, key farmers and DA training conducted in Belwang village is
by Rolf Boller, project leader of Kadatar, the season’s harvest is often Province often fall victim to gnawing rats. weed clearing of planting areas and officials mapped out an action plan to simply a start to a continuous learning
Lighter areas indicate the extent of the crop
the Environment and Sustainable just enough for their food for the next damage caused by rodents. blocked burrows during land preparation, overcome their current rodent problems. experience, for both parties. IRRC
Agriculture Program of the Social Action 6 months. Sometimes, a few farmers maximum tillering, and booting stages They agreed to act as a community technologies, such as ecologically based
Development Center (SADC) in Bontoc- manage to plant glutinous rice, which is of the rice crop. They were introduced and seek assistance from the local rodent management, are validated by
Lagawe, and also by representatives from sold for export. to the benefits of community action, government to buy rat traps. They working closely with farmers in what
the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist- “The amount of rice yield depends synchronous cropping (planting at the planned to set these up in and around is known as adaptive research. When
Department of Agriculture (OPA-DA) in on the size of your land and on whether same time), good hygiene in fields and the village where heavy damage was farmers understand the ecology of the
Mountain Province. or not there are rat infestations,” says houses, and the community trap-barrier observed. rodent species in their area, they are
Under the scorching midday sun, Peter Dicang, a rice farmer. “If our stored system (CTBS). CTBS is a plastic fence For the next cropping season, the better equipped to develop effective
the group had to go through two valleys, rice is not enough, we are forced to buy surrounding a small plot of rice planted farmers will continue their past practices management strategies. Simple solutions
walk along the narrow edges of the rice from the National Food Authority 2–3 weeks earlier than the surrounding of clearing weeds and blocking burrows found together as a community could be
Sadanga terraces, and climb many steps using the money we get from selling crop, with traps set into the plastic. in the field and, together, establish a successful in protecting crops and, in the
to the village of Belwang. The sweeping glutinous rice.” Dr. Singleton emphasized that the CTBS. Cooperation among them is long run, lead to increased income.
views of the mountain ranges carved In the midst of the picturesque green methods to control the rat population crucial considering that they need to
with rice terraces hundreds of years surroundings, it is unfortunate that these could be adapted and changed to fit the designate a rice plot as bait to lure rats
old offered a respite from the otherwise farmers can barely eke out a living. To community’s own circumstances. into it. Rats will follow the plastic fence
grant singleton

arduous trek. The team, however, augment farmers’ income, the SADC and The farmers eagerly participated of the CTBS until they reach a hole that Ms. Rojas is a communication and
couldn’t help but notice the patches of OPA-DA joined forces to help farmers in during the discussion on the biological they enter to reach the rice, but instead extension officer with the Irrigated Rice
rice terraces damaged by rats (see When Belwang establish an agroforestry system. characteristics of the pest species, rodent are caught in a cage trap. The farmers Research Consortium.

40 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 41

1 2

Tara shyam (4)


rice in the city

by Tara Shyam

Rice may soon thrive once more in urban Singapore

M ention the island country Singapore

and rice growing may not be the
first activity that springs to mind. 
and implements used in rice farming,
and consumer products with rice
as an ingredient. Visitors also got
change—and to inspire more young
people to become plant scientists. Even
though Singapore is a small country that
However, like most countries in a chance to dehusk rice grains and does not grow rice commercially, its next
Asia, rice is an indispensable food create a rangoli, a traditional Indian generation of agriculture advocates has
grain in Singapore, as it is not only a floor decoration made from brightly much to contribute to the future of rice
significant ingredient in local cuisines colored rice flour. Moreover, SCS handed research. 
but it is also an integral part of the small out illustrated booklets about rice and
nation’s culture and traditions. a 5-gram packet of IR64 seeds that
In an effort to raise awareness about included instructions on how to grow Ms. Shyam is a development officer with
rice—how this cereal starts as seeds rice so people could try planting them at IRRI Fund Singapore.
planted in plots to a steaming bowl of home with the family.
rice served in Singaporean dining—the To supplement this informal
Science Centre Singapore (SCS) and the learning, master teachers of geography 1. rangoli is traditional Indian art made from rice
International Rice Research Institute from Singapore high schools also flour that is used to adorn Hindu homes. Elaborate
and colorful patterns are used during festive
(IRRI), with support from the Lee attended a training workshop conducted occasions.
Foundation, launched a rice exhibit and by SCS. Because of this, rice education 2. Rice farming and sorting implements used in
education program on World Food Day has been officially incorporated into the rice production.
3. Manual rice dehusking using sandpaper blocks.
2010 on 16 October.  school curriculum.  4. A Singaporean family tries to dehusk the rice
Bearing the theme Rice and the These activities aimed to help samples at the exhibit.
Cycle of Life, the exhibit introduced Singaporean youngsters understand 5. Rice exhibit banner displayed at the Science
Centre Singapore.
Singaporeans to the rice plant’s the relationship between their food and 6. Children enjoy making their own rangoli
anatomy, different rice varieties, tools the environment—particularly climate patterns.

Science Centre Singapore

Science Centre Singapore

4 5 6

Rice Today January-March 2011 43


The global rice market: boom or doom?

many past studies have established crisis. The objective of this reserve will always highly correlated, as shown in
negative effects of price volatility on be to keep the rice price in a desired band Figure 2 for Thai Hom Mali Grade A and
by Samarendu Mohanty poverty reduction and agricultural by procuring rice when the price falls Thai 5% broken rice. Such differentiation
productivity in low-income countries.1 below the lower limit and releasing the of rice makes it extremely difficult to have

This was evident during the 2008 food stored rice to the market when the price a rice futures contract that will enable
he global rice market is on the Nevertheless, this is still a good harvest Rising market instability crisis when the number of people living goes above the upper limit. This may producers/traders of different types of rice
move again. In the last few considering it is 10 million tons higher During the IRPIC, many distinguished below the poverty line increased by sound simple and effective in managing to hedge against the price risk they face.
months, rice prices have climbed than what was produced last year. This speakers raised concerns about the 100 million. Interestingly, when prices market volatility and restoring the faith
back up after hitting a 2-year year, however, the consumption forecast growing instability in the global rice dropped in 2009, the poverty figure of importers, but the actual operation Looking ahead
low in early August. The global rice is above 450 million tons; hence, this market. In the last 12 months, the price also declined. In Bangladesh, poverty of such a reserve can be very expensive Global rice demand is projected to grow
price, represented by Thai 5% broken, leaves nothing for inventory for the first for Thai 5% broken rose by $100 twice headcount increased from 41.5% in 2006- and controversial. For example, when the at 1.2–1.5% each year in the medium
had increased by $120 per ton as of 2 time in 5 years. and dropped by nearly $150 once. 07 to 45.9% in 2007-08 due to higher price is low, the procurement of rice by term. Assuming there will be no further
December from its August low of $434 Given the tightening of the current Notably, the Thai 5% broken rice price food prices.2 Moreover, volatility in rice the strategic reserve to raise the price will expansion in rice area, which is already
per ton—an increase of nearly 30% in 4 global supply-and-demand situation, some increased by $98 per ton from $493 in prices also creates uncertainty in farmers’ not be acceptable to importing countries. at an all-time high, the current yield
months (see Fig. 1). The damage caused strengthening of rice prices was inevitable. October 2009 to $591 in December 2009 expected earnings, making them cautious Similarly, when the price is high, growth of less than 1% will likely create
by inclement weather on the wet-season Nothing, though, can truly explain such a and then sank by almost $150 per ton in applying fertilizer, irrigation, and other exporters will object to the release of rice a tight supply and demand situation
rice crop in Pakistan and in other rice- steep rise in price within just a few months. between December 2009 and June 2010. necessary inputs, which negatively affects from the reserve to lower the price. more often than ever before. In addition,
growing countries (Thailand, Myanmar, This was echoed at the International The increased volatility in the global yield. The 2008 wet-season crop is a good There has also been talk about more frequent extreme weather because
the Philippines, China, and South Korea) Rice Policy and Investment Conference rice market could be partly due to the example, in which farmers responded to developing a rice futures market to of climate change is expected to make
and supply concerns surrounding wheat (IRPIC) held in conjunction with the Third lingering hangover from the 2007-08 high rice prices by applying expensive provide a platform for exporters and the supply-demand imbalance even
and maize have provided the necessary International Rice Congress (IRC2010) in crisis—an overreaction of the market to fertilizers to boost production but then importers to hedge against price risk. worse. On top of that, protectionist
spark to reverse the downward trend Hanoi, Vietnam, on 8-12 November (see supply-and-demand shock. Many also ended up with lesser values for their crops The futures market should also help in policy measures taken by rice-growing
in the market. Pakistan’s rice crop, in The rise of rice on page 16). contend that the rising involvement of the because of the meltdown in commodity improving the transparency of the price countries in the last few years are likely
particular, has been battered by floods— More significantly, however, the government in trade since the 2007-08 prices in the last quarter of 2008. During formation process. However, one of to complicate the market further. As
and the most recent USDA estimate important question is, Where do prices rice crisis has added instability to the this period, rice prices dropped by a the major stumbling blocks in having indicated earlier, no silver bullet can
points to a significantly lower production go from here? As mentioned many times market because of a lack of openness whopping $500 per ton and fertilizer a feasible global and regional futures fix this problem and baby steps should
of 5.1 million tons compared with 6.8 in my previous Rice Today articles, in terms of trade. In most government prices, particularly for urea and ammonia, market is the high degree of product be taken to expand the trade volume
million tons in 2009. nobody can predict future rice prices. If deals, the prices paid and received for also plummeted by more than 60%. differentiation in rice at both origin and and make it more transparent. Different
On the positive side, Australia is somebody says he can, he is lying. Based rice are kept under wrap. Traders have destination. For example, Pakistani or options, including the viability of a
recovering from its multiyear drought, on my “guesstimate,” further downward also started speculating on possible What can be done realistically? Indian basmati rice is very different from strategic reserve and a futures market,
during which the rice crop more or less revisions of the global rice and wheat border policy shifts in major exporting First of all, one would like to see the free Vietnam 25% broken rice or japonica rice should be examined in great detail to
disappeared in the last 5 years, but it is supply may provide the necessary and importing countries, thus generating flow of rice across countries or regions from East Asia. Even within a country, determine whether or not they will be
projected to produce more than 500,000 support for rice prices at this level, more volatility in the market. without much government intervention as prices of different types of rice are not effective for market stabilization.
tons this year or nearly 300% greater or even take them a little higher. But, To gauge the degree of instability the size of the market is inversely linked
than 2009-10 production. Thailand and India can spoil the party in the rice market, let’s look at current to the level of volatility. In other words, Price (US$/ton)
The most recent USDA estimate now and, in fact, exert downward pressure on global wheat production that has been a larger market is likely to absorb any 1,400
puts global rice production at 451 million the price if they decide to unload part of severely curtailed by weather problems shock better than a smaller market where
tons, that is, 9 million tons lower than their procurement and mortgage stocks to in the major exporting countries such prices will have to move farther up and 1,200
what was expected a few months ago. open up storage space for the new crop. as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and down in response to any shock. However,
Canada. The 2010-11 global wheat considering the sensitivity of rice in
Thai fragrant
production is estimated to be 45 million rice-growing regions, it will be more 1,000
Price (US$/ton) tons lower than the previous year’s 680 realistic to take a few baby steps first
1,000 million tons, a drop of nearly 7%. In toward fostering a market that has freer 800
900 response, wheat prices have gone up to a trade and less government intervention.
800 level that is more appropriate for the lower Such development will also encourage 600
available exportable supplies in major countries to move away from short-term
growing regions. Interestingly, a similar fixes to more long-term sustainable Thai 5%
600 drop in global rice production in the major development of infrastructure, markets,
500 exporting countries, that is, a production policies, and technology.
400 shortfall of 30 million tons in Thailand, As a first step toward stabilizing the
Vietnam, Pakistan, the United States, and global market, importing nations should
300 India, would have caused mayhem in the not rush to secure domestic supply 0

Jan 05
Mar 05
May 05
Jul 05
Sep 05
Nov 05
Jan 06
Mar 06
May 06
Jul 06
Sep 06
Nov 06
Jan 07
Mar 07
May 07
Jul 07
Sep 07
Nov 07
Jan 08
Mar 08
May 08
Jul 08
Sep 08
Nov 08
Jan 09
Mar 09
May 09
Jul 09
Sep 09
Nov 09
Jan 10
Mar 10
May 10
Jul 10
Sep 10
Nov 10
200 global rice market, similar to what was needs for the entire year at one time.
100 witnessed in 2007-08 when rice prices The creation of a strategic rice reserve Date
rose to an unprecedented $1,000 per ton. as a means for market stabilization has Fig. 2. Prices of Thai fragrant 100% and Thai 5% broken rice (January 2005-November 2010).
Rising price volatility for rice, a also picked up steam since the 2008 rice
Mar 98
Jul 98
Nov 98
Mar 99
Jul 99
Nov 99
Mar 00
Jul 00
Nov 00
Mar 01
Jul 01
Nov 01
Mar 02
Jul 02
Nov 02
Mar 03
Jul 03
Nov 03
Mar 04
Jul 04
Nov 04
Mar 05
Jul 05
Nov 05
Mar 06
Jul 06
Nov 06
Mar 07
Jul 07
Nov 07
Mar 08
Jul 08
Nov 08
Mar 09
Jul 09
Nov 09
Mar 10
Jul 10
Nov 10

Source of raw data: The Pink Sheet, World Bank, and Rice Market Monitor, Food and Agriculture Organization.
staple for half of the world’s population
Date and a source of livelihood for nearly a
billion households, is also undesirable 1
Susanne U, Keil A, Zeller M. 2010. The impact of rice and maize price volatility on farm households‘ income and consumption in northern Vietnam, Conference on International
Fig. 1. Price of Thai 5% broken rice (March 1998 to 2 Dec. 2010). from the global food security perspective. Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development held in Zurich, 14-16 September 2010.
Source of raw data: The Pink Sheet, World Bank, and Thai Rice Exporters Association (for 2 Dec. 2010 price). As reported by Susanne, Keil, and Zeller, 2
Raihan S, Haque AKI, Khan EA, Chowdhury R. 2008. Updating poverty estimates in Bangladesh: a methodological note. Bangladesh Econ. Outlook 1(4).

44 Rice Today January-March 2011 Rice Today January-March 2011 45

grain of truth

The new global rice agenda:

a Latin American perspective
by: Gonzalo Zorrilla

atin America has a tiny share across the world has limited agricultural
in global rice production—only Plugging Latin America into expansion, Latin America could
around 4% of the total. Now, provide additional rice area to boost
rice is the most essential crop in
this global rice research agenda, rice production since it is one of the few
almost all countries, not only as a staple coordinated by IRRI, will regions left in the world that still has
food but also as a significant sector that plenty of natural resources, especially
contributes to economic growth and job
help the region improve rice land and water.
creation. And, compared with other food production and meet its own Research programs at CIAT,
grains, it is clearly more important in the FLAR, and several national institutes
diet of the poor.
local demand, as well as the have accomplished good technological
Latin America is vastly diverse world's. advances that could also be shared in
in its ecosystems for rice production. this new global agenda. Strategies to
From the small farmers in coastal increase yield potential in conventional
Ecuador or Guyana who continue to Revolutions in Latin America on page 38 varieties, using wild species to develop
transplant or pregerminate seeds to the of Rice Today Vol. 6, No. 2). International, new improved cultivars, biotechnology
extensive rice growers in the Southern regional, and local efforts have led to a breeding tools, rice transformation with
Cone (Argentina, southern Brazil, and continuous and dynamic improvement in a high-throughput platform, agronomy
Uruguay) who use high-tech no-till rice production in Latin America—with extension programs aimed at closing the
direct-seeding systems; from the hilly- the region demonstrating high yield yield gap, improving water-use efficiency,
upland subsistence farmers in the Andean
region of Bolivia or northern Nicaragua
to commercial producers in the rainfed
growth in the last three decades.
Since the late 1990s, however,
collaboration among international centers
minimum- or no-till and direct-seeding
systems, institutional innovations such as
FLAR, among others, are areas that have
Conserve water when growing rice.
Eastern Plains of Colombia or Costa
Rica, there are all kinds of intermediate
and other institutions from different
regions has declined steadily. IRRI’s
good and validated technological products
that may be useful on other continents. Use Valley Center Pivots and Linears.

ecosystems and forms of production. support for Latin America diminished FLAR, along with its more than 30
International research has played and contact with the African centers public- and private-associated institutions
a key role in improving rice production became minimal. But, in 2009, changes in 17 Latin American countries, is ready
Rice has traditionally been grown using flood
in the last 40 years, starting with in the international centers’ governance and eager to play an active role in this
the semidwarf materials developed sparked a revival of communication new global platform. While CIAT will be irrigation on flat fields, but growers are now Valley Center Pivots rotate
during the Green Revolution in the late among centers. Institutes then started fully engaged in genetics, biotechnology, looking for ways to conserve water in their crop around a fixed pivot point in
1960s. Joint efforts of the International discussing and elaborating the program disease, and climate change research production. Irrigating rice with Valley Center ® the center of the field. The
Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and that has now come to be known as the issues among others, FLAR, with its
Pivots and Linears has allowed growers to reduce machine efficiently irrigates
the International Center for Tropical Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP). grass-roots network of local institutions,
Agriculture (CIAT) were the driving This program provides an opportune will focus on applied research and the amount of water and fuel pumped, and has the crop while creating a
force behind this revolutionary trend in time to re-engage Latin America as an act as a bridge in bringing these new allowed new growers to produce rice on non- circular pattern.
agriculture. During the 1980s, strong active partner in the strategy to overcome technologies to farmers. traditional fields.
national institutions appeared in several the huge challenges facing world rice Plugging Latin America into this
countries and helped create a regional production—allowing the region to not global rice research agenda, coordinated
network for research and development only receive new scientific breakthroughs by IRRI, will help the region improve So contact your Valley Irrigation dealer today to
in rice. This concerted effort was but also to share some of the interesting rice production and meet its own local find out more about producing rice with a Valley
consolidated in 1995 with the foundation technology and production systems that demand, as well as the world’s. It will Center Pivot or Linear.
of the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Latin American farmers have already also provide Asia and Africa with valid
Rice (FLAR) as a public-private regional validated and adopted. experiences and research products, Valley Linear machines
partnership based at CIAT. With FLAR’s Investment in rice research in Latin which they can adopt and apply to their travel back and forth across
support and the active involvement of America is very small compared with respective strategies.
farmers´ organizations, Latin America is that in Asia and Africa. Hence, we a square or rectangular field.
working on a second Green Revolution anticipate that this partnership will bring The linears can irrigate up to
in the region based on crop management in new and suitable technologies to the Mr. Zorrilla is the executive director of 98% of each field.
Irrigation. Technology. Conservation.
and good agronomic practices (see Rice region. In turn, because urbanization FLAR.

Rice Today January-March 2011

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