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Focus on... Rice

Worldwide, in over 100 countries where rice is grown, it is believed that there are almost 150,000 cultivated varieties. Most were developed over millennia, and many are still grown by millions of smallholder farmers, who continue to collect rice seed each year selecting for characteristics that are felt to be important. In many regions, rice not only shapes the landscape but also the culture and traditions of the people who depend on this highly valued staple. In parts of Southeast Asia, the crop is so revered that farmers compare a grain of rice to a 'grain of gold'. FAO has designated 2004 as 'Year of Rice' and it is the first time that a commodity has been given such unprecedented attention. Much has been accomplished in the rice sector over the last fifty years. But, whilst consumption continues to rise, rice production is declining, and there is much that still has to be achieved. In this edition, New Agriculturist adds its own perspective on rice as we focus on some of the triumphs and tribulations of breeding, producing and communicating about rice.

All hyped up for hybrid rice?

All hyped up for hybrid rice?

More than half the total rice area in China is currently planted to hybrid rice but as consumption increases, Chinese scientists continue their dedication to raising productivity by developing super hybrids whilst popularity for hybrid varieties increase across Asia and elsewhere.

Date published: July 2004

Rice - learning from the past?

Rice - learning from the past?

In ancient times, the economy of the great city of Angkor, located in present-day Cambodia, was based on rice, with a complex system of waterways for irrigation. As the archaeological secrets of Angkor are revealed, what cautionary tales from this once mighty city can be communicated to the modern world?

Date published: July 2004

How rice farmers benefit from ICT

How rice farmers benefit from ICT

It is widely recognised that the timely and effective transfer of technologies and knowledge from researchers to farmers' fields remains one of the greatest challenges in developing world agriculture. IRRI's Rice Knowledge Bank (RKB) provides a dynamic Internet portal that aims to become the world's central repository of rice knowledge and training materials.

Date published: July 2004

Eureka for NERICA!

Eureka for NERICA!

Since the 1960s, imports of rice to West Africa have increased eight-fold, costing the region almost US$1 billion a year. But, due to the dedication and perseverance of a team of African scientists, it is possible that Africa may once again become self-sufficient in rice varieties bred for Africa.

Date published: July 2004

Red rice for self-reliance!

Red rice for self-reliance!

Bhutan's rice is red and so highly favoured, even revered by the Bhutanese, that very little is available for export. The significance of Bhutan's red rice may appear to be minimal elsewhere, but the rice performs well with little or no artificial fertiliser, and appears to be remarkably tolerant to pest attack.

Date published: July 2004

The golden future of rice?

The golden future of rice?

Golden rice has been hailed by researchers as a new miracle rice that could solve vitamin A deficiency in afflicted countries. But will golden rice live up to its promise?

Date published: July 2004

 

 

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