Biotech Updates

Nitrogen Use Efficient Rice Getting Closer to Farmers' Fields in Nigeria

July 21, 2021

Dr. Kayode Sanni. Photo Source: AATF/Twitter

Nigerian scientists and partners met in Abuja to commence compiling a dossier for the national performance trial on genetically engineered (GE) rice called nitrogen-efficient, water-efficient, salt-tolerant (NEWEST) rice. The final dossier will be submitted to the National Biosafety Management Agency, which is tasked to regulate GE crops in the country.

Rice is one of the major staple crops in Nigeria, however, the existing rice varieties are low-yielding and cannot meet the demand. According to the developers of NEWEST rice, the GE rice will be a game changer not just in Nigeria, but also for the rest of the continent. NEWEST rice can resist drought, withstand salty soils, and make use of limited nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer.

Confined field trials of NEWEST rice have been completed at the National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI), and now gearing towards a national performance trial, according to Dr. Kayode Sanni, rice project manager at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). The NEWEST rice project is a collaboration of AATF, NCRI, the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, and other partners.

Read more from the Genetic Literacy Project.