11x14 W/O FRAME

Before these women began to plant rice seedlings in the paddy, the mud dikes with interlocking channels were released to flood the fields. The swamped ground was plowed into a smooth sloppy mixture with the help of oxen powered plows. If the 7 inch seedling plants survive the usual adversities, they will be ready to harvest in 3 to 4 months. Some of the rice will be sold as cash crops to nearby regions. Asia produces more than 75% of rice while African nations produce less than 4% collectively. Although more than 540 million tons of rice are produced annually, only 5% of that is traded internationally. No other food plant crop is depended on by more people, and yet still there is a serious shortage of rice to feed some parts of the world. Among the 39 African countries that produce and consume rice, only ten have attained any appreciable levels of rice self-sufficiency. The way to plant rice in the painting above is back breaking and tedious but is still used today in developing and developed nations.

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Information about AfricaRice

Rice farmers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) face many environmental constraints. Drought is particularly devastating to Africa’s rice production since almost 70% of the region’s rice area is rainfed. Thus about 7 million ha of rice area in SSA is potentially drought-prone. Iron toxicity is a serious constraint in lowland rice ecologies, which represent about 53% of the total rice area in SSA. 

Flooding affects as much as one-third of the rainfed lowland areas of SSA, when there is heavy rain and blocked drainage. Most lowland rice farmers in Africa practice direct-seeding, making them vulnerable to total crop loss if flooding occurs during seed germination. In such situations, tolerance to flooding during germination known as ‘anaerobic germination ability’ in rice seeds is needed to overcome the stress.
Currently, rice breeding programs are mainly sourcing genes of stress tolerance from Oryza sativa (known commonly as the Asian rice). Research at AfricaRice has shown that the African rice is a rich repository of genetic material that can provide tolerance to several stresses, particularly drought, iron toxicity and flooding during germination. In this project, the main focus will be on using the African rice as a donor of stress tolerance. The project will make use of AfricaRice’s collection of more than 2,000 samples of seed of this native African rice species.

 The project “Rapid mobilization of alleles for rice cultivar improvement in sub-Saharan Africa” will be implemented by AfricaRice in partnership with the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), Japan; Cornell University, USA; the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines; and the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Nigeria. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

As a first step, the project will identify genes/gene-based markers related to iron tolerance, drought tolerance and anaerobic germination ability. The genes will then be incorporated using marker-assisted backcrossing (MAB) into commercially valuable rice varieties without losing useful characteristics which make them popular with farmers.
“The new resilient varieties are expected to directly enhance yield levels and reduce risk in farmers’ fields. In addition, varieties with anaerobic germination capacity will enable direct seeding in flood-prone areas, greatly reducing labor needs for transplanting and weeding, which are often provided by women in SSA,” said Dr Ramaiah. Representatives of the partner organizations participated in the project launch meeting that was held, 10-12 April 2014, at the AfricaRice Research Station in Ibadan, Nigeria, to discuss and confirm the objectives and deliverables of the project. Source:





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