Where Burundi’s new rice comes from

by Luigi Guarino on December 17, 2011

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.

Want to know how hard was the work? And how international? All you have to do is type “IR77713” into IRRI’s International Rice Information System. After some fiddling, you’ll get the following pedigree, which you’ll definitely need to click on to read properly. Remember that wherever you see IRGC or the TT Chang Genetic Resources Center mentioned that means the material came from the IRRI genebank.

And that, dear reader, is why a multilateral system for access and benefit sharing is such a good idea.

One of the farmers who helped pick the new varieties, Ms. Scolastique Simbandumwe, shared, “I am happy that the varieties I selected are now released. I would like to get seeds now, to be among those who will multiply seeds, so that my income can increase.”

Not to mention genebanks.

“We congratulate IRRI for this achievement,” concluded Director General of Agriculture Sebastien Ndikumagenge, Burundi Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. “By releasing these two varieties, IRRI contributes a lot to our efforts to find food for Burundians. We encourage IRRI to go forward.”

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Dave Wood December 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

“And that, dear reader, is why a multilateral system for access and benefit sharing is such a good idea.”
Luigi: It shows that the past access and benefit-sharing through the CGIAR collections and breeding is a very good idea. But I think the other multilateral system – the ITPGRFA – has yet to prove itself. Many countries have not joined the Treaty; others are not distributing their national samples; and some are even refusing to accept conditional funds to regenerate their stored samples (including, sadly, one I was involved with setting-up 35 years ago). I am not even sure there is a database of samples distributed under the Treaty – with the notable excellent example of IRRI. And a lot of the original samples in the IR77713 pedigree came from countries not (yet) accepting the ITPGRFA. This worries me.

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