Share This Article
Better prepared against drought and disease, the new varieties of rice developed by the Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Research (INERA) should enable yields to be increased while providing better soil protection.
In Burkina Faso, as with other West African countries, the local production of rice is insufficient to meet the population’s needs. And yet the famous white cereal makes up one of the basic foodstuffs within traditional Burkinabé cuisine. According to the Ministry of Trade, the country is therefore forced to import 400,000 tons of rice each year from the 650,000 tons eaten each year.
To make a big difference, a team from the Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Research (INERA) selected four new varieties of rice which should allow production to be increased in the years to come. The researchers worked over 8 years before selecting KBR2, KBR4, KBR6, and KBR8 (KBR stands for KamBoinseRice). Before they were entered into the national variety catalogue, each variety even received a name, namely Massamalo, Nongsaamè, Bitonkin, and Mouifiida respectively. These new varieties are distinguished by shorter production cycles (between 110 and 120 days), increased yields from 8 to 10 tons per hectare, and better tolerance to certain types of stress. But that’s not all…
Less water and less inputs
The rice is the planet’s most eaten type of grain: it represents 20% of the world’s food energy requirements. But it also possesses a serious disadvantage: the significant amount of water it consumes. INERA has therefore positioned its research around lines of crops that are recognised as being tolerant to drought, so it can obtain varieties that require less water. For the four varieties which have shorter production cycles and better productivity, the water needed in the production of a ton of rice is considerably reduced.
Burkinabé researchers have also wished for their new varieties of rice to be resistant to disease, which creates colossal crop losses for thousands of producers. With the help of a long varietal improvement process that was done using a series of crosses, KBR2, KBR4, KBR6, and KBR8 are better prepared to fight against the plagues which devastate the rice fields of West Africa, chiefly the rice yellow mottle virus and rice Pyricularia, caused by a pathogenic fungus.
Thanks to this increased resistance to drought and diseases, the four new rice varieties will participate in a programme of sustainable agriculture development in Burkina Faso. By using less chemical inputs and less water, farmers will enable the soil to regenerate and groundwater to be preserved, which will have a positive impact on the whole biosphere, but also on the quality of rice offered to consumers. In time, the Burkinabé government hopes to produce a million tons of rice per year. An ambitious target which will above all require the development of 50,000 hectares of irrigable land.