“Today, we have new tools and approaches that enable us to achieve progress that was simply unimaginable in the past: the eradication of extreme poverty and its most devastating corollaries, including widespread hunger and preventable child death.”
– USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah
One such tool is genetic engineering.
To help leverage this and other advanced molecular tools for food security, Feed the Future partners from U.S. and international research communities and the private sector have teamed up to apply these tools to common challenges faced by millions of rice farmers throughout Africa.
Their efforts are paying off. This month, for the first time in Africa, researchers in Ghana and Uganda planted confined field trials of genetically engineered rice.
The new variety includes a trait for increased nitrogen use efficiency, which helps the plant take better advantage of the scant nitrogen found in Africa’s often nutrient-poor soils. Soil nitrogen deficiencies limit yields on roughly 90 percent of the lands African farmers use for growing rice. The engineered variety could also promote responsible fertilizer use by improving the crop’s responsiveness to smaller doses of fertilizer.