Commercial farming of Golden Rice in 2 years

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on April 09, 2011

Progressing well: Dr R.S. Ziegler, Director-General of International Rice Research Institute at Manila, Philippines, with Dr Swapan Kumar Datta, Deputy D-G, ICAR at the 46th Annual Rice Research Group Meeting at the Directorate of Rice Research in Hyderabad on Saturday. — P.V. Sivakumar

After years of waiting, farmers in the Asian countries could hope for sowing Golden Rice in the next few seasons. “The Golden Rice project is moving on well. An important announcement will come on this later this month. We have undertaken field trials at various locations. It is going on very well,” said Mr Robert S. Zeigler, Director-General of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Addressing reporters here on Saturday, he said the rice strain fortified with Vitamin-A was critical to address the micro-nutrient needs of hundreds of thousands of poor children in the world.

“It will be available for commercial farming in two years. It first will be launched in the Philippines and then in Bangladesh,” he said.

India centre

IRRI engaged in talks with ICAR (Indian Council of Agriculture Research) to set up a research centre in Hyderabad. “One possibility is to create a centre in Hyderabad. The other possibility is to create a distributed presence in India,” he said.

Mr Zeigler was here to attend the 46th Annual Rice Research Group meeting at the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR). He said the global outlook for rice was good assuming there was good weather. Stocks were adequate if not abundant.

Earlier addressing the gathering of rice scientists and private industry, he said the food security of India was food security of the world. “If India is not food secure, the world is not,” he said, pointing out the recent Census estimated population figure at 1.2 billion.

Mr Zeigler and other speakers, who included Dr Swapan Kumar Datta Deputy Director-General of ICAR, highlighted the focus on East India to grow rice. They pointed out that traditional areas such as Punjab and Haryana reached stagnation and the East promised a good alternative with abundant availability of water.

( >kurmanath@

Published on April 09, 2011

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