The Rice Program of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT contributes to food and nutrition security by relying on one of the most widely consumed foods. For the past five decades, the Alliance has been dedicated to improving rice in various ways: increasing productivity, minimizing environmental impact, and making it adaptable to climate change.
Not only has the Alliance's work resulted in the development of more nutritious seeds, but it has also helped create jobs for both men and women who grow and harvest rice in various regions of the globe. To achieve its goal of producing nutritious rice and ensuring its availability to farmers in developing countries, the Alliance teamed up with RiceTec, Inc. through a collaboration agreement.
The objective of the collaboration is the development and testing of high-performance rice hybrids, using Alliance’s restorer lines. If the testing process has a positive outcome, the hybrids will be commercialized in different jurisdictions by RiceTec, Inc. The agreement will permit the Alliance to test the development of high-performance rice hybrids (that use CIAT restorer lines) and if commercialized, it will permit the rice program of the Alliance to deliver its products to a broad spectrum of farmers. Moreover, the agreement will permit the rice program to obtain vital information of the behavior of the hybrids, that otherwise will not be accessible.
As part of the agreement, RiceTec was granted exclusivity of CIAT restorer lines, to be used in the testing and development of high-performance rice hybrids. Exclusivity was granted to use the Alliance’s restorer lines to form rice hybrids and ii. to enhance the scale and scope of impact on the Alliance’s target beneficiaries: farmers in developing countries. The agreement and the particularities on how the restorer lines will be used will provide invaluable data to the Alliance’s rice breeding program and its research activities. The agreement will permit the testing of the Alliance’s restorer lines in regions where the Alliance has no capacity to operate directly. The Alliance is not able to develop and test high-performance rice hybrids in the regions where exclusivity was granted. In this sense, not only the testing and the invaluable data that will be obtained are fundamental for the agreement, but in addition, it will ensure that the developed rice hybrids will go to the marketplace, a point that the Alliance will not be able to get to without this agreement, enhancing the scale and scope of impact of target beneficiaries, who will have available high genetic quality seeds. In this sense, the main beneficiaries of the agreement will be small and mid-sized farmers and the urban population of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia; Philippines, Nepal, where rice plays a critical role in their economies and cultures.
Exclusivity was granted in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and USA. Moreover, the exclusivity was granted for a restricted period (which includes the testing phase), with provisions according to which the exclusivity may be revoked (depending on commercialization).
The agreement contains a Research Exemption. The Alliance reserved the right to conduct research and non-commercial activities over the licensed varieties. In addition, in case of a Food Emergency, Rice Tec will make the seed available in such quantities as reasonably required to cover the food emergency for the period of the emergency (Food Emergency Exemption). Moreover, the commercialization is subject to monetary benefit sharing towards the International Fund of the ITPGRFA (Plant Treaty).