Hybrid rice set to increase Kenya’s grain production

 Rice Today   |  

A new high-yielding, early-maturing, and disease-resistant hybrid rice variety is expected to increase Kenya’s production by almost double per acre.

The hybrid rice variety can yield up to 54 bags of paddy rice compared to 30 bags produced by basmati rice.

The country could become self-sufficient in rice production once farmers adopt the variety, according to the head of the rice production program in the country.

Read the story at Kenya News Agency

More on hybrid rice:

Hybrid rice
Hybrid rice is a type of rice that has been bred from two very different parents. It can significantly outyield other rice varieties. IRRI is working with its partners to develop new and improved hybrid rice varieties.

Because hybrid rice can outyield other varieties of rice, it is a key technology that meets the increasing global demand for rice. In the 1970s, China’s hybrid rice breeding program averted an impending famine. Today, hybrid rice closes yield gaps evident in many areas. It also raises yield potential. Bountiful harvests mean that farmers earn higher incomes and rice becomes available and affordable to more consumers.

Developing mechanically dense transplanting of single seedlings for hybrid rice production in China
The development of hybrid cultivars has substantially increased the yield potential of rice. It is estimated that planting hybrid rice can feed 70 million more people in China annually. However, the planting area of hybrid rice in the country has declined since 1996 at a rate of about 0.18 million hectares per year (see Figure 1 below), presenting a challenge for national food security.

It is crucial to maintain or even increase the productivity of intensive cropping systems in China due to limited arable land per capita. In 2015, the arable land per capita in China was 0.08 ha, which was only 43% of the world average.

Hybrid rice for global food security
Rice is the main food crop that feeds more than half of the world’s population. Therefore, it plays an essential role in food security and poverty alleviation.

Theoretically, rice still has a great yield potential to be tapped and there are several ways to increase rice yield. Based on successful experiences in China, the most effective and economical means is by developing hybrid rice.

Replacing half of the rice-growing areas in the world with hybrid rice varieties with a 2 t/ha yield advantage could feed 400‒500 million more people each year.

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