Rice plays a more crucial role in human food consumption than any other major field crop. It provides 60 percent of the calorie intake for more than two billion people every day. In Asia, where 90 percent of the world’s rice is grown, average per capita consumption is more than one kilogram a week.
And yet progress in rice productivity still lags behind the advances made in other crops. Governments in the emerging markets of Asia are increasingly responding to this challenge with support and incentives to help modernize farming practices. Syngenta is participating in the process of modernization by expanding the range of products and services available to rice growers. Our goal is to achieve a step change in yield while improving rice quality.
Expanding chemical solutions
Until now, chemical usage in rice has focused mainly on herbicides and older insecticides. With the expansion of the new insecticide VIRTAKO®, part of the DURIVO® range, Syngenta is delivering a new mode of action offering both insect control and increased plant vigor. We are developing new markets for broadspectrum disease control with ARMURE®, and we see an increasing opportunity for AMISTAR® which, following the expansion of our production capacity, we can now start to capture.
Doubling yield potential
Seed Care is another example of the ways in which Asian rice growers are adopting new technology. The combination of CRUISER® with high-yielding hybrids and complete crop protection programs is delivering benefits to growers in high potential areas. We are further expanding our integrated offer with the introduction in India of TEGRA™, a solution for smallscale rice growers. The solution consists of planting high quality seed coated with seed treatment, followed by a new system of mechanical transplanting for the seedlings to reduce labor input. A crop care protocol is applied during the growth period and, in total, TEGRA™ increases yields by an average 30 percent.
Traditional rice cultivation relies heavily on the availability of water, and reduced water input during any part of the growing cycle has an impact on plant growth and yield. Syngenta is breeding hybrid rice varieties with short and medium maturities and correspondingly lower water needs. Because rice growers face variable conditions – for example, flash flooding that can also damage the crop – we are developing native traits that can better withstand temporary submergence.
Bringing technology to smallholders
In Asia alone, there are more than 200 million rice farmers for whom the extension and transfer of knowledge will play a vital role in securing a sustainable livelihood. Syngenta’s locally based teams are focused on providing not only products but also the necessary tools, support and training to enable smallholder farmers to achieve this.