Expanding the world of rice

 Sophie Clayton   |  

We are pleased to announce that the Rice Today editorial board held its first meeting in May this year via conference call and this was hosted by The Rice Trader at its Americas conference in Miami. The board shared some great ideas about making Rice Today even better. We are truly grateful for everyone’s contributions and for their ongoing contributions in the future. The entire team is looking forward to implementing these ideas over the coming issues—so, stay tuned for even more great content!

In this issue, we head to Sri Lanka and discover the extent of its weedy rice problem and efforts to combat it. Then, in our country highlight, we visit Cambodia to hear about rice production and research there, including a heart-warming reminder of how the International Rice Genebank repatriated “lost” rice seeds from traditional rice varieties following the country’s internal strife.

One interesting feature story we have is how African farmers have become desperate in warding off queleas—birds that feed on rice and cause significant yield losses—and how some seemingly simple techniques can fight this major problem in Senegal.

From Africa to South America, we have an incredible story of how the tiny country of Uruguay can produce so much rice, perhaps something that countries working on increasing their rice production can take notes from.

We are also privileged to have Dr. Yuan Longping, Father of Hybrid Rice, answer some questions about success in life, hybrid rice’s potential to boost rice yields, and China’s position as the top user of hybrid rice. In response to the ongoing popularity of our articles about rice art and culture—thanks to our readers who enjoy learning about all aspects of rice—we have our first rice fable. Folk legends and fables shed light on the history of rice in different cultures, and, by publishing such stories, we help preserve them in this modern age.

For those who want to see scientists get all muddy and to learn the practical art of growing rice, you’ll love the IRRI Agronomy Challenge feature. Earlier this year, IRRI’s Deputy Director General for Research (and Rice Today editorial board member) Achim Dobermann and Experiment Station Head Leigh Vial tried their hand at growing rice and we feature their exploits in this issue.

Finally, don’t overlook our news section this issue! We have hot-off-the-press news about how collective action to control rodents in Vietnam has delivered farmers a 20% pay raise. Also, we now know the true nature of the glycemic index of rice, which will help rice consumers wisely choose the type of rice they eat. We also have news from the Philippines about a microfinance bank using a nutrient management tool to help the bank provide fertilizer microloans to rice farmers.

Happy reading!

Sophie Clayton
Rice Today associate publisher

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