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Major new rice research partnership launched

November 15, 2010

One of the world’s largest global scientific partnerships for sustainable agricultural development has launched a bold new research initiative that aims to dramatically improve the ability of rice farmers to feed growing populations in some of the world’s poorest nations.

The efforts of the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) are expected to lift 150 million people out of poverty by 2035 and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases by an amount equivalent to more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

GRiSP is an initiative of the CGIAR and is led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners. The new global initiative will lead scientists to embark on the most comprehensive attempt ever to deploy rice’s genetic diversity. Cutting-edge research aimed at discovering new rice genes and deciphering their functions will feed into accelerated efforts to break the yield barrier in rice and breed new generations of “climate-ready” rice with flooding tolerance and other traits that are essential for adapting production in the face of climate change. The initiative is expected to boost supplies enough to reduce anticipated increases in rice prices by an average of at least 6.5% by 2020, and at least 13% by 2035.

“Given that rice is the staple food for more than half the global population and in most of the developing world, there is no question that availability of rice is equated with food security,” said Dr Robert Ziegler, Director General of IRRI.

GRiSP is the opening gambit in a wider campaign to secure the world’s food supply within 25 years,” said Mr Carlos Perez del Castillo, Chair of the Board of the Consortium of International Agricultural Reseearch Centers.

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