The National Variety Release and Registration Committee (NVRRC) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has approved the release of five rice genotypes (varieties) onto the market for cultivation and consumption.
The approved genotypes which included 929, C93 ,Gbewaa Red, Waiqi, and Pac 801( a hybrid seed) , are not only drought and disease tolerant, but also high in yielding, early maturing, have high nutrition, and tolerant to climate change.
Members of the NRRC made the approval at the weekend after inspecting the field trials of six proposed new rice genotypes carried out by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) at Golinga, a community in the Northern Region.
The approved rice genotype are expected to be submitted to the MoFA for endorsement before they are officially released onto the market and subsequently placed at the national seed bank.
Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, the Acting Director of Crop Services at the MoFA, addressing the Committee after the field trip commended the institute for their efforts in developing the genotype to help improve on the seeds sector as well as increase food security in the country.
He said rice had become a staple leading to increase in its demand and indicated that this had created a gap in its production due to increase in the importation of rice.
He said the Ministry had therefore set an agenda including the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to help improve on rice production in the country in order to make the country self-sufficient in its production by the years 2024 and 2025.
Mr Osei-Akoto said farmers were also encouraged to adopt the production of the improved rice seeds to help increase their yields and income.
He said even though there were some improved rice varieties released on the market some years ago, it was worrying that only two of the varieties namely “Gbewaa rice” and “Agra rice” had been promoted.
He urged the seed breeders to come out with very competitive improved varieties that could be promoted enough to make farmers adopt them for cultivation and consumption.