Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Rice of hope

In Côte d'Ivoire a new variety of rice has been called dususuma malo, or the rice of hope.

This rice, or rather, several different varieties, have been created by the African Rice Centre by crossing Asian rice with African rice. As a group, they are called NERICA, New Rice for Africa. They have several advantages over the previous varieties:

  • yields are high
  • they mature early
  • they are not easily overwhelmed by weeds
  • they can tolerate a certain amount of drought
  • they are resistant to or tolerate many African pests or dieases
  • they can tolerate some soil acidity and iron toxicity
  • they have a higher protein content

Apart from the obvious benefit of providing better food supplies, a secondary but no less important benefit is that school attendance has increased in areas where it is grown. This is attributed partly to the income generated by the higher yields and partly to the reduced need for children's labour on the farm because of the shorter time to maturity and the resistance to weeds.

Source Africa Rice Centre


  1. Nice to hear some good news to - there are so many bad news all the time :-)

  2. That is fascinating. I do hope that these are not gm crops that are sterile though, as that creates a whole host of additional problems. Farmers being able to retain some seed year on year is vital to sustainability.

  3. It certainly is good to have good news, captain lifecruiser.

    Equiano, the great success is that "the scientists overcame hybrid sterility—the main problem in crossing the species" and in doing so, by back-crossing, have created hundreds of new varieties and increased the biodiversity of rice. They are justifiably pleased with their work.


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