High hopes for lowland rice – PERU

7 January, 2011 by (comments)

A newly-released rice variety could help producers in coastal areas of Peru boost yields by more than 30 per cent.

The “INIA 510 Mallares” variety is also more resilient to diseases, and produces rice with improved grain quality over varieties currently sown.

Developed by rice researchers at Peru’s National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA), using a parental line from CIAT, the variety is particularly well-suited to Peru’s lowland coastal region, where many farmers struggle to produce more than the average of 8 tonnes of rice per hectare, and frequently suffer crop loses to Hydrellia,  the stem rot fungus, and false smut – a fungus that affects rice panicles.

INIA510 Mallares has a yield potential of 12-13 t/ha and has a strong level of tolerance to both diseases. High grain quality means farmers can also sell their rice to local processors at a higher price.

After three years of laboratory trials, field experiments, demonstrations – and the vitally important milling and taste tests – INIA510 Mallares was officially released in Piura, northwestern Peru, during a special ceremony attended by around 500 small farmers, processors, government officials, agronomists, and scientists in December. Around two tonnes of the new seeds were distributed to farmers at the event.

“This new variety responds directly to the needs of rice producers in this part of Peru,” explained CIAT’s Cesar Martinez, leader of the institution’s Rice Program, who participated in the event. We were delighted that so many attended the release.”

“INIA510 Mallares has the potential to dramatically improve the local food supply and boost household incomes.”

The new variety, in combination with the 2007 release of another high-yielding rice variety, INIA-508 Tinajones (also developed by INIA using CIAT’s germplasm), could soon become the rice-of-choice for farmers across the region, replacing IR43, which has been the leading variety in this area since 1986.

“Our breeding program with INIA is very dynamic,” continued Martinez. “Each year we send nurseries of improved rice breeding lines to Peru for testing and selection, to develop varieties for release.

“The release of INIA 510 Mallares demonstrates the power of collaboration, and the strength of our partnership with our colleagues in Peru.”

Click to read more from the release ceremony (in Spanish)

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Filed Under: Crops @en, Latin America and the Caribbean, Regions, Rice @en