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The hybrid alternative for Africa

Africa, which has tremendous agricultural potential, is often described as a continent of paradoxes. Rice statistics reveal one such paradox. The continent’s average rice yields, estimated at about 2 tons per hectare (ha), are among the lowest in the world. Yet, Egypt, in northern Africa, has one of the highest national average rice yields worldwide, with nearly 10 tons per ha.

IRRI, Savitri Mohapatra   |  Jul 28, 2017

Developing the hybrid rice technology capacity of national partners, farmers, nongovernment organizations, and the private sector is a major component of the AfricaRice strategy.

 

Figure: African farmers inspecting the early-maturing and high-yielding hybrid rice varieties developed by AfricaRice at Saint Louis, Senegal. Hybrid rice can provide an avenue for the farmers to raise their crop yields and profitability. (Photo by R. Raman, AfricaRice)

 

Africa, which has tremendous agricultural potential, is often described as a continent of paradoxes. Rice statistics reveal one such paradox. The continent’s average rice yields, estimated at about 2 tons per hectare (ha), are among the lowest in the world. Yet, Egypt, in northern Africa, has one of the highest national average rice yields worldwide, with nearly 10 tons per ha.

 

Egypt’s rice yields were boosted by the use of high-yielding inbred and hybrid varieties, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Egypt is the only country in Africa that has successfully produced several varieties of hybrid rice with grain yield of 12–14 tons per ha. It has also developed a strategy to produce hybrids tolerant of salinity and drought.

 

It is no wonder that Egypt is also the only country on the continent that produces enough rice for its domestic demand, with a surplus for export. It was inspired by China, where hybrid rice has contributed significantly toward improved food security, environmental protection, and job creation since the early 1980s.

 

See more: http://ricetoday.irri.org/the-hybrid-alternative-for-africa/

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