A revolution in rice production: Bayer advocates for regenerative agriculture practices like direct seeding of rice

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16 October 2023, MANILA, Philippines ~ Collaborative action and advancement of direct-seeded rice can be an important solution for food security and climate change challenges facing the world, according to Michael Graham, head of Bayer’s Crop Science Research and Development Breeding Division, in his keynote speech on the first day of the 6th International Rice Congress.

“We are at a pivotal moment in time,” said Dr. Graham. “Rice consumption is increasing across Asia and Africa, while climate change and resource scarcity are putting pressure on our capability to produce enough rice. A revolution in rice production is needed, one based in regenerative agriculture.”

Dr. Graham compared this major change to the Green Revolution in the 1960s. He lauded the accomplishments of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) across its more than 60-year history, crediting the institute not just for its scientific breakthroughs such as the famed IR8 rice variety, but also for designing a robust system of research that paved the way for future agricultural scientists and researchers.

Modern direct seeding of rice is a crop establishment methodology augmented by various technologies, including breeding, water management, mechanization, digital, and other systems. Direct seeding can significantly conserve resources like water and labor and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Dr. Graham shared that, in a Bayer survey of smallholder farmers, 97% said that they experienced an increase in extreme weather conditions, while 4 in 10 were threatened by crop failures. They also said that a key challenge they are facing was the increasing costs of labor, while digital technologies and crop protection were considered as desired interventions.

“Bayer’s work on direct-seeded rice can help shape the future of rice by building a system centered around farmers,” said Dr. Graham. “Leveraging on the concepts of innovation,…

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