New Generation Rice Varieties Unveiled for Africa

30 May 2013. A new generation of high-performing rice varieties has been launched by the Africa Rice Breeding Task Force under a new brand called “ARICA” – which stands for “Advanced Rice Varieties for Africa.”

The Breeding Task Force comprises international and national rice breeders from 30 African countries and operates as part of the Japan-funded project “Developing the Next Generation of New Rice Varieties for Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.”

“We are excited to announce the selection of the first five ARICA varieties. The ARICA varieties offer promising opportunities to Africa’s rice sector and can make a difference to the lives of Africa’s rice farmers, who do not have access to new varieties that are better adapted to their growing environment and likely to sell well,” said Dr Papa Seck, Director General of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), which coordinates the Breeding Task Force.

Selection Criteria of ARICA Varieties. The five ARICA varieties were selected based on a rigorous evaluation of elite rice lines across the African continent. All these ARICAs outyielded the most popular check varieties in the trials.

ARICA varieties suitable for rainfed lowland ecology

  1. ARICA 1: About 30% higher yield compared to NERICA-L19. ARICA 1 is in the variety release process in Mali.
  2. ARICA 2: More than 50% higher yield compared to NERICA-L19. ARICA 2 is in the variety release process in Mali and Nigeria.
  3. ARICA 3: About 30% higher yield compared to NERICA-L19, with good grain quality, high milling recovery, low chalkiness, shorter cooking time. ARICA 3 is in the variety release process in Mali and Nigeria.

ARICA varieties suitable for upland ecology

  1. ARICA 4: About 15% higher yield compared to NERICA 4. ARICA 4 has just been released in Uganda.
  2. ARICA 5: About 15% higher yield compared to NERICA 4. ARICA 5 has just been released in Uganda.

“The ARICA varieties can be considered as the next generation of rice varieties for Africa, after the success of many improved rice varieties – notably the NERICAs, the Sahels, the WABs and the WITAs – developed by AfricaRice and its partners over the last 25 years,” stated AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Marco Wopereis.

Describing the ARICA varieties in his blog “Welcoming the ‘ARICAs’: the next generation of rice varieties for Africa,” Dr Wopereis said that unlike the NERICA varieties, the ARICAs are not restricted to interspecific crosses. Any line that shows promise, regardless of its origin can become an ARICA variety as long as the data that are collected are convincing.


Related:

11 June 2012. Rice research investment delivers sixfold return. “We greatly appreciate the evidence of impact provided in this report,” said Carmen Thoennissen, senior advisor, Global Program Food Security,Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Commissioned by SDC to assess the effectiveness of its international research programs, the report is the first to look at natural resource management technologies on an international scale, encompassing several countries. Titled, “Meta-Impact Assessment of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC),” it shows a sixfold return on SDC investment over 16 years. This is likely a conservative return estimate since only a subset of the farming technologies funded was assessed.

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