LOS BAÑOS, THE PHILIPPINES – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and BASF signed three agreements for wider dissemination and adoption of direct-seeded rice (DSR) tools and technologies. Through this partnership, the two organizations will establish a multi-stakeholder DSR Consortium and further research on the use of non-genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant rice.

According to IRRI, under optimal conditions, direct seeding is considered a more efficient and cheaper method of growing rice than manual rice transplantation. It requires less resources such as labor and water, and it emits less greenhouse gases compared with other rice growing methods.

Although direct seeding is widely practiced in the United States and South America, challenges such as higher yield losses due to weed infestation have limited its wide-scale adoption in Asia.

The new research consortium aims to:

  • develop robust mechanized dry- and wet-DSR systems,
  • investigate solutions to manage weeds, and
  • formulate agronomic practices suited for DSR farms in Asia.

Furthermore, the consortium will enable IRRI to develop DSR technologies and test rice varieties suitable to Asian environmental conditions. Membership is open to the public and private sectors, research organizations, NGOs, and farmer groups.

“Feeding the world is not just a public sector concern,” said Jacqueline Hughes, deputy director general for research at the IRRI. “It’s a problem that needs everyone’s contribution, including the private sector. With this partnership, we’re enabling organizations like IRRI to work closely with companies like BASF toward a common goal, which is sustainable development.”

The partnership also will advance research on non-genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant rice to safely control weed infestation in DSR systems. Once these varieties are introduced to the market, a third-party organization will assess their impact on rice productivity, profitability, and ecological sustainability.

“This partnership with IRRI will expand our reach and expertise, and we are confident that this will contribute to faster and wider dissemination of rice technologies, such as the Clearfield Production System and Provisia Rice System, that raise rice productivity and farmers’ income at the same time,” said Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, head of BASF’s Crop Protection Division in Asia Pacific. “Through this collaboration, we are excited to provide products and program support that contribute to food security in a significant and environmentally sustainable way.”