Farmers in Burundi will soon sow the seeds of hard work and international cooperation with the release of two new rice varieties set to boost rice production and meet the rapidly growing demand for rice in Burundi. Farmers and agricultural stakeholders chose the two rice varieties bred by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), called IR77713 and IR79511, over the country’s locally grown varieties – V14, V18, Watt, and Rukaramu – because they produce more rice and taste and look better.
The varieties have been tested and evaluated in different regions across Burundi for three years in participatory variety selection (PVS) trials in which farmers choose the rice varieties they like most and that perform best. The new varieties easily gained favor not only for their high yielding capability of up to seven tons per hectare, which is one to one and a half tons more than the locally grown varieties, but also because of their ability to mature two to three weeks earlier. Early-maturing varieties mean that farmers can grow a second crop, allowing them to produce more food for their families or to sell it. This is important in Burundi because more than 90% of the population depends on agriculture for livelihood. The farmers also ranked IR77713 and IR79511 highest in grain quality of unmilled, milled, and cooked rice. In addition, a sensory test revealed that farmers find IRRI’s new varieties tasty and better looking compared with the locally grown varieties.
IRRI-Burundi developed the new rice varieties especially for Burundi after recognizing the urgent need for better rice varieties adapted to local conditions and matching farmer and consumer needs. In a first, IRRI-Burundi released the varieties after just four growing seasons – usually it takes much longer. The new varieties are targeted to be planted in lowland areas of the country (800–900 meters above sea level) and are expected to boost food production in Burundi.
Excerpted from the IRRI News & Events pages at http://irri.org/news-events/media-releases/burundi-release-two-new-rice-....