Uganda Develops Disease Resistant Rice

Since its start in 2004, the Upland Rice (Nerica) Project has increased rice farming in Uganda from 4,000 farmers to more than 35,000 in 2007. However, rice yields have been affected by the rice mottle virus, causing panic to farmers and agricultural researchers. After discovering that wild rice that naturally grows in lakes and rivers has resistance to the yellow mottle virus, researchers have been working on transferring the genes of wild rice to locally produced rice to improve production.

According to Fred Mukisa, the State Minister for Fisheries of Uganda, they have gathered different wild rice breeds from various locations for conservation in research gardens because it is facing extinction. John Wasswa Mulumba, the head of the National Generic Centre in Entebbe, said that the major reasons for the near extinction is "overgrazing, cultivation and construction." Thus, they are also collecting breeds from various locations for conservation, documentation, and ulitilization towards crop improvement.

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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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