‘Green Super Rice’: Improving smallholder incomes and reducing hunger across Asia and Africa

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With increasing occurrences in unfavorable biotic and abiotic conditions, farmers are facing significant challenges with maintaining successful crop yields. With the development of GSR varieties, farmers across Asia and Africa can tailor their crops to regional-specific conditions and promote crop yields (© Pexels).

Scientists and crop breeders in China have produced new varieties of rice called ‘Green Super Rice’ (GSR) to help tackle the global burden of increasing populations, food production and farmer incomes with its 20% increase in yield across varying challenging growing conditions.

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Looking to the past for disease resistance

Fireblight on apples
Fireblight on apples

Traditionally, farmers have bred their crops so that, in several generations, they have a variety that has a high yield or a particular taste or texture. These days, many farmers don’t breed their own crops but buy varieties that have been specially developed to perform well. However, it turns out that sometimes it is best to rediscover old varieties that naturally already have desirable traits.

Researchers at the Swiss research centre, Agroscope, were commissioned by the Fructus Association to look at the properties of apple varieties that are no longer widely grown. This is part of the NAP-PGREL project, which aims to record the properties of approximately 300 fruit varieties a year and make this information available to fruit growers. Continue reading

Mining technology can help find nutritional crop varieties

Millet grains can be analysed for nutritional content using X-ray fluorescence © ICRISAT HOPE/Peter Casier (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

Farmers face difficult challenges in deciding which crop variety to continue growing. They need to choose crop varieties that have a high likelihood of survival and that will have a high yield. The communities that these farmers provide crops for also have needs. Their need is focused on the access to nutritious crops that contain high concentrations of minerals such as zinc and iron. It is easy for farmers to see which crop varieties with the largest vegetative organs and those that survive longest, but how do farmers discover which crops are the most nutritious? They can’t simply look at each plant to find their nutritional content. Now agricultural scientists believe that they may have solved this problem by using X-Ray Fluorescence technology to analyse crop seeds. Continue reading