Rice - Alliance Bioversity International - CIAT

The Rice Program at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT contributes to food and nutrition security by supporting the production of one of the most widely consumed foods in the world, serving as a primary energy source for billions of people globally. Over the last five decades it has been continuously improving this crop to increase productivity, reduce its environmental impact, and adapt to climate change, which has contributed dignified jobs for the men and women who grow and harvest rice in different parts of the world.

The Importance of Rice Research

Rice is one of the staple foods of half of the global population. Worldwide, more than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20% of their daily calories. By 2035, an additional 116 million tons of rice will be needed to feed the planet’s growing population. Rice consumption is growing faster than any other commodity in Africa because the growing urban population considers it a convenience food.

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History of Rice Research at the Alliance

The Alliance’s Rice Program began in 1967 at its campus in Palmira (Colombia), working closely with the Colombian Institute of Agriculture (ICA) and the National Rice Association (Fedearroz). This collaborative program developed semi-dwarf cultivars using hundreds of elite breeding lines introduced from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), as well as other germplasm sources that were subsequently crossed with criollo and other lines developed by ICA (Martinez et al., 2014).


Our Research Approach

The Rice Program develops its research on four pillars:

  1. Genetic Breeding

We improve rice to supply safe, healthy, and highly productive germplasm to farmers, with environmentally friendly production systems adapted to climate change.

In line with this, we have product profiles for the different market segments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Within this profile we specify the phytosanitary, physiological, adaptation, milling and culinary quality requirements needed for each region within LAC.

  1. Foresight

We develop methods and technologies that allow us to study market dynamics, consumer preferences and predict the variability of climate change and the adaptation of rice crops to a changing world.

  1. Partnerships

We create and deliver solutions through collaboration, supporting producers and organizations to achieve a more sustainable and competitive rice value chain.

  1. Innovative digital solutions

We develop innovative solutions for high-throughput phenotyping in breeding processes and digital agriculture tools.

rice crop research approach

Where We Work

  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 17 countries with FLAR, including Haiti and Brazil (Embrapa).

  • Central America: Guatemala and Honduras

  • Africa: Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar and Senegal
  • Asia: Laos and India

Thematic Research Areas

Our research focuses on these specific objectives of the Rice Program:

  • Develop technologies for the sustainable intensification of rice cultivation,
  • Develop nutritious and healthy rice varieties,
  • Contribute to achieving resilience to climate change,
  • Enhancing rice stability by increasing disease resistance, and
  • Develop and apply methods to increase genetic gains. 

Researchers plant and inspect rice in the field.

©Alliance/La Cuadra Producciones 

Partnerships and Outreach

Rice production is a complex activity that involves various stakeholders, from the farmers who plant and harvest the rice, to the processors, marketers, and consumers.

Achieving a more sustainable and competitive rice supply chain requires partnerships between different types of organizations such as agribusiness companies, national research centers, farmers' organizations, governments, and international agencies. We work together with these organizations to develop and implement innovative solutions that address the challenges of rice production such as climate change, water scarcity and a lack of access to sustainable technologies and farming practices.

It is also important to offer support and training to enable farmers to adopt more sustainable and profitable rice farming practices. This includes promoting conservation farming practices and improving access to high quality seeds.

In summary, collaborative work between different types of organizations is essential to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of the rice-growing value chain, and to ensure food security in rice-dependent communities. These organizations include:

Videos and Podcasts

CIAT rice lines in Lao PDR.

Rice hybrids a technology to contribute to food security. (only available in Spanish)

Evaluation of Pyricularia of the rice plant at the Santa Rosa Experimental Center. (only available in Spanish)

Direct seeded rice

Meet The Team

Talk To Us

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