Biotech Updates

AAFT Collaborates with Japan Tobacco to Develop New Rice Varieties

May 25, 2012

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) based in Nairobi has signed a license agreement with Japan Tobacco (JT) of Japan for the use of JT's transformation technology to develop new rice varieties for use by smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Countries such as Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda are expected to benefit. The initiative, known as the Nitrogen Use Efficient Water Use Efficient and Salt Tolerant (NEWEST) Rice Project, seeks to address some of the major constraints that face rice production in SSA. It aims to develop and disseminate farmer-preferred and locally adapted rice varieties with enhanced nitrogen-use efficiency, water-use efficiency, and salt tolerance. JT will offer the technology free of charge to the AATF with an aim of supporting humanitarian aid projects.

 "The license will enable the project to utilize our plant transformation technology for monocot species, PureIntro┬«, developing and deploying the nitrogen efficient, water efficient, and salt tolerant rice products, free of royalties," said Mr. Masamichi Terabatake, JT's Chief Strategy Officer.

JT's plant biotechnology is independently managed from its core businesses including tobacco and food. PureIntro® is an Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation technology that is recognized worldwide as de facto standard for monocot transformation. The technology reduces development cost and time.

For more information, contact Nancy Muchiri at