More Rice With Less Water

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How often have we heard that we must have genetically modified food if we are to feed the world's starving poor? About as many times as agibusiness companies have sent out media releases. Though now WWF advises us GMOs do not need to be part of the solution. Research has confirmed that rice can be grown using a method that uses less water and less seed,yet has increased yields.

Known as SRI (System of Rice Intensification) the method has "helped increase yields by over 30% — four to five tonnes per hectare instead of three tonnes per hectare, while using 40% less water than conventional methods." We also read that the conventional method of rice cultivation uses 60-70 kilos of seeds per hectare, SRI requires just five kilos per hectare. This could great news for the 50% of the world's population that rely on rice for their main source of directly consumed calories.

As well as providing better food security the extraction of less water will be welcomed by the 1.2 billion people globally that have no access to adequate water for drinking and hygiene. Maybe the method, originally developed in Madagascar, can be applied to drought stricken countries like Australia, who persist with water intensive rice growing. The report, released in India this month, can be downloaded from the WWF site. ::WWF Rice.