RICE BREEDING CREATES BILLION-DOLLAR IMPACT
Improved rice from IRRI’s breeding work has given farmers in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia an additional US$1.46 billion worth of rice every year from 1985-2009, an independent study by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) finds.
In the years that followed the release of IR8 , or “miracle rice”, improving rice is not just about getting more rice out of a hectare anymore. IRRI’s breeding work has taken on the different “stresses” to the rice plant – pests, diseases, floods, heat, drought, salinity, and cold (referred to mostly as biotic and abiotic).
Major rice-producing areas in Asia find themselves in deltas that provide rich soils but also, are prone to flooding and saline-intrusion, and also in areas that frequently experience drought, heat, or cold. Understanding grain quality, creating healthier rice, and charting out pathways to revolutionary rice types are also in IRRI’s breeding agenda as it prepares the rice-producing world to a future of lesser resources and more mouths to feed.