Hybrid rice files (2002-2010)

New IPR policy opens the door for IRRI to start patenting rice

IRRI's Board of Trustees confirmed a new policy on intellectual property rights (IPRs) for the Institute on 14 November 2010 at its meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. IRRI is now free to seek plant breeders' rights, patents and all manner of IPRs on its breeding lines and varieties, whether conventional seeds, hybrids or GMOs. 

IRRI's Board of Trustees confirmed a new policy on intellectual property rights (IPRs) for the Institute on 14 November 2010 at its meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. IRRI is now free to seek plant breeders' rights, patents and all manner of IPRs on its breeding lines and varieties, whether conventional seeds, hybrids or GMOs. 

PAKISTAN: Corporate hybrid seeds flood efforts in agricultural reconstruction

The flooding that submerged nearly a fifth of Pakistan starting in July this year displaced about 20 million people and killed nearly 2,000.  This number of people whose property and livelihoods were destroyed surpassed the number of combined victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the Haiti earthquake earlier this year. Without a doubt, it was one of Pakistan's worst floods ever. But the destruction isn't over yet. A big threat looms in the way the government is rebuilding agriculture, in partnership with big agribusiness companies, in the flood-stricken areas of Pakistan. A torrent of corporate hybrid seeds, and possibly GM seeds as some suspect, packaged with fertlisers, farm implements and production credit is streaming into the affected provinces in the name of agricultural reconstruction.

The flooding that submerged nearly a fifth of Pakistan starting in July this year displaced about 20 million people and killed nearly 2,000.  This number of people whose property and livelihoods were destroyed surpassed the number of combined victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the Haiti earthquake earlier this year. Without a doubt, it was one of Pakistan's worst floods ever. But the destruction isn't over yet. A big threat looms in the way the government is rebuilding agriculture, in partnership with big agribusiness companies, in the flood-stricken areas of Pakistan. A torrent of corporate hybrid seeds, and possibly GM seeds as some suspect, packaged with fertlisers, farm implements and production credit is streaming into the affected provinces in the name of agricultural reconstruction.

Taking a slice of the GM rice pie

Early this year, Bayer announced that it is pulling out its application for commercial approval of its genetically modified Liberty Link rice (LL62) in Brazil. Its action sent a signal that – with the numerous law suits it had to settle or pay in damages in the US for contaminating rice farms with its LL601 rice variety – GM rice, the herbicide resistant one in any case, might just be too controversial to be commercialised. At least for now. Bayer's LL62 has been genetically-engineered to resist high doses of glufosinate – particularly Bayer's Liberty/Basta – sprayed on rice fields to kill a wide range of weeds. The idea is that LL62 rice will survive but the weeds will not, so the use of this rice will increase use of the said herbicide thereby increasing sales of Bayer’s glufosinate.

Early this year, Bayer announced that it is pulling out its application for commercial approval of its genetically modified Liberty Link rice (LL62) in Brazil. Its action sent a signal that – with the numerous law suits it had to settle or pay in damages in the US for contaminating rice farms with its LL601 rice variety – GM rice, the herbicide resistant one in any case, might just be too controversial to be commercialised. At least for now. Bayer's LL62 has been genetically-engineered to resist high doses of glufosinate – particularly Bayer's Liberty/Basta – sprayed on rice fields to kill a wide range of weeds. The idea is that LL62 rice will survive but the weeds will not, so the use of this rice will increase use of the said herbicide thereby increasing sales of Bayer’s glufosinate.

INDIA: A second Green Revolution is not the answer

India's Union Government is allocating some US$ 86.3 million to push a Green Revolution into India's eastern states. It is a hefty sum to bring a ghost back to life. But it is not just the amount that farmers, activists, scientists and consumer groups were raising their voices against at a recent workshop in Odisha. It is the government's disregard for the alternatives that exist and the havoc that the Green Revolution has already wreaked on the country.

India's Union Government is allocating some US$ 86.3 million to push a Green Revolution into India's eastern states. It is a hefty sum to bring a ghost back to life. But it is not just the amount that farmers, activists, scientists and consumer groups were raising their voices against at a recent workshop in Odisha. It is the government's disregard for the alternatives that exist and the havoc that the Green Revolution has already wreaked on the country.

CHINA: New troubles with hybrid and GM rice

China's utopian quest for the rice crop suffered a couple of blows recently. A new rice virus disease – called Southern Rice Black Streak Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV) transmitted by the white back planthopper (WBPH) – was reportedly spreading across China, covering 300,000 ha of rice land in nine provinces.

China's utopian quest for the rice crop suffered a couple of blows recently. A new rice virus disease – called Southern Rice Black Streak Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV) transmitted by the white back planthopper (WBPH) – was reportedly spreading across China, covering 300,000 ha of rice land in nine provinces.

PHILIPPINES: Govt's own data point to lower hybrid rice yield; groups call to remove subsidy

The Department of Agriculture's (DA) own Bureau of Agricultural Statistics revealed that yields of hybrid rice from 2008-2009 averaged only 5.58 metric tons (MT) per hectare. A far cry from what chief of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice program, Frisco Malabanan, claims that “hybrid rice achieves greater yields and thus farmers earn more without increasing their cultivation area.” Malabanan said that farmers could harvest as much as 12 MT from hybrid rice and enjoy a profit increase of at least P30,000 (US$ 650) per hectare.

The Department of Agriculture's (DA) own Bureau of Agricultural Statistics revealed that yields of hybrid rice from 2008-2009 averaged only 5.58 metric tons (MT) per hectare. A far cry from what chief of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice program, Frisco Malabanan, claims that “hybrid rice achieves greater yields and thus farmers earn more without increasing their cultivation area.” Malabanan said that farmers could harvest as much as 12 MT from hybrid rice and enjoy a profit increase of at least P30,000 (US$ 650) per hectare.

VIETNAM: Farmers face hardships due to faulty hybrid rice seeds

Hundreds of farming households in the central province of Binh Dinh are experiencing hardships, as the Nhi uu 838 hybrid rice seeds, sowed for winter-spring harvest, have not sprouted.

Hundreds of farming households in the central province of Binh Dinh are experiencing hardships, as the Nhi uu 838 hybrid rice seeds, sowed for winter-spring harvest, have not sprouted.

IRRI under siege

On 12 April 2010, close to 1000 farmers from different parts of the Philippines, joined with representatives of farmers organisations from other Asian countries such as Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam, to gather at the main gate of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna (Philippines). Inside, IRRI celebrated its 50th anniversary, while outside these farmers were calling, once and for all, for IRRI's abolition. Another 2000 farmers in Bacolod City and North Cotabato, in central and southern Philippines respectively, did parallel rallies in solidarity with those in Los Banos. Through phone messaging, they shared with the protesters at the IRRI gate their firm resolve that IRRI's 50th year should be its last.

On 12 April 2010, close to 1000 farmers from different parts of the Philippines, joined with representatives of farmers organisations from other Asian countries such as Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam, to gather at the main gate of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna (Philippines). Inside, IRRI celebrated its 50th anniversary, while outside these farmers were calling, once and for all, for IRRI's abolition. Another 2000 farmers in Bacolod City and North Cotabato, in central and southern Philippines respectively, did parallel rallies in solidarity with those in Los Banos. Through phone messaging, they shared with the protesters at the IRRI gate their firm resolve that IRRI's 50th year should be its last.

INDONESIA: Planthoppers hit hybrid rice

Scientists with the Indonesian Centre for Food Crops Research and Development are reporting an alarming increase in infestations of brown planthoppers in the province of West Java.

Scientists with the Indonesian Centre for Food Crops Research and Development are reporting an alarming increase in infestations of brown planthoppers in the province of West Java.

Mauritius leads land grabs for rice in Mozambique

Mauritius' Minister of Foreign Affairs says his government has secured a large area of land in Mozambique to produce rice for his country. Speaking at a "brainstorming session" on August 13, Arvin Boolell says his Ministry "used all its diplomatic weight to acquire prime land" for rice production covering 20,000 ha. Most of the land is in the district of Marracuene in the southern province of Maputo where conflicts over land are already intense.

Mauritius' Minister of Foreign Affairs says his government has secured a large area of land in Mozambique to produce rice for his country. Speaking at a "brainstorming session" on August 13, Arvin Boolell says his Ministry "used all its diplomatic weight to acquire prime land" for rice production covering 20,000 ha. Most of the land is in the district of Marracuene in the southern province of Maputo where conflicts over land are already intense.