NCRI, AfricaRice Release Flood Tolerant Rice Varieties

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The National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) and Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice) have, under the Bill Melinda Gates Rice project, released two rice varieties that could withstand flood and increase rice yields.

Dr Mohammed Bashir, the National Coordinator for STRASA and Green Super Rice (GSR III) Projects, said this at the workshop on Rice Varietal Replacement Strategies in Abuja on Monday.

Bashir said that the new varieties would help rice farmers to increase their yields from two tonnes per hectare to about seven tonnes per hectare.

He said that the move was to enable Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.

Dr Francis Nwilene, the Regional Representative of AfricaRice in Nigeria, said that the projects, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were to develop rice varieties that were tolerant to the challenges facing rice production in Nigeria and other African countries.

According to him, the projects have released two flood-tolerant rice varieties and three drought-tolerant rice varieties in Nigeria.

Nwilene listed the drought-tolerant rice varieties as “Farrows 63, 64, 65’’ and “Farrows 66, 67’’ as the flood-resistant varieties.

Mr Gary Atlin, the Senior Programme Officer, Crop Productivity Lead, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that the foundation had invested between 40 and 50 million dollars on rice breeding in Africa within the last 10 years.

Atlin said that the investment was done in collaboration with AfricaRice, International Rice Research Institute and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

He said that the foundation had also invested in maize breeding.

The STRASA and Green Super Rice (GSR III) Projects are sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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