Bayer AG, the German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, announced it has signed a deal with the International Rice Research Institute to develop and promote an efficient and sustainable method for producing rice — one that would allow farmers to earn more.
The initiative, called the Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC), is developing a comprehensive, science-based, agronomic package adapted for direct seeded rice production in Asia, making direct seeded rice accessible and widely available to rice farmers, thereby enhancing the economic and ecological sustainability of rice production in Asia.
DSR has emerged as an efficient and economically viable alternative to traditional rice farming methods as it saves scarce and expensive resources such as labor and water and reduces GHG emissions. Recently, DSR has been widely practiced in many Asian countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Many other countries including South Asia are going through this transition from manual transplanting to mechanized DSR. In future, with labor and water becoming increasingly scarce and expensive; alternative rice establishment methods which are labor and water efficient, such as DSR, will be the preferred method of rice cultivation.
The DSRC platform aims to improve crop management practices to maximize the advantages of direct seeded rice. In addition, the DSRC will publicize science-based information on DSR rice technology, including better information to help policymakers define national rice development strategies. Capacity building activities and training activities will also be conducted for both the public and private sectors.
Under the agreement, Bayer will provide access to Bayer-owned genetic materials (hybrids), seed and drone technologies, as well as in-kind activities for DSRC research and testing.
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