"Climate-Ready" Rice

From the “I love the smell of rice-a-roni in the morning” department and the Global Rice Science Partnership, we have adaptation to a warmer more CO2 laden world. It’s another “Ehrlich population bomb were all gonna starve” moment shot to hell. – Anthony

Scientists launch global scheme to boost rice yields while reducing damage to environment

Millions will escape hunger and poverty in a widening campaign to achieve global food security and deliver major environmental gains within 25 years

Hanoi, Vietnam (November 10, 2010)—One of the world’s largest global scientific partnerships for sustainable agricultural development has launched a bold new research initiative that aims to dramatically improve the ability of rice farmers to feed growing populations in some of the world’s poorest nations. The efforts of the Global Rice Science Partnership, or GRiSP, are expected to lift 150 million people out of poverty by 2035 and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases by an amount equivalent to more than 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

An initiative of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners, GRiSP was launched in Hanoi today at the 3rd International Rice Congress. The new global initiative will lead scientists to embark on the most comprehensive attempt ever to deploy rice’s genetic diversity. Cutting-edge research aimed at discovering new rice genes and deciphering their functions will feed into accelerated efforts to break the yield barrier in rice and to breed new generations of “climate-ready” rice with flooding tolerance and other traits that are essential for adapting production in the face of climate change. The initiative is expected to boost supplies enough to reduce anticipated increases in rice prices by an average of at least 6.5% by 2020, and at least 13% by 2035.

“Given that rice is a staple food for more than half the global population and in most of the developing world, there is no question that availability of rice is equated with food security,” said Dr. Robert Zeigler, Director General of IRRI, a member of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers.

According to Zeigler, GRiSP has the potential to contribute significantly to lowering food prices, which he says should lift about 72 million people out of poverty by 2020. This effect is measured by counting the lower costs as projected income gains worth US$11 billion, thus reducing global poverty by 5% and 11% by 2035.

At the same time, GRiSP research will significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from rice production through the adoption of improved irrigation methods and by avoiding deforestation. More than 1.2 million hectares of forest, wetlands, and other natural ecosystems will be saved by 2035 because rice production will not need to expand into new areas, thanks to higher rice yields.

The launch of GRiSP marks the beginning of a 5 year nearly $US600 million endeavor. While GRiSP builds on existing research, development, and funding, it requires additional new financial support to raise annual funding for rice research from around 100 million in 2011 to 139 million in 2015 to fully realize its potential.

“GRiSP is the opening gambit in a wider campaign to secure the world’s food supply within 25 years,” said Mr. Carlos Pérez del Castillo, Chair of the Board of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers. The Consortium of Centers was formed recently in a major reorganization of the CGIAR that is responsible for providing financial support for the implementation of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs).

“In the coming months,” he added, “the CGIAR will launch further high-quality international research programmes that form part of a comprehensive vision, with clear impact-oriented targets, for reduction in poverty and hunger, improvements in health and nutrition, and enhanced resilience of the world’s ecosystems. We welcome the CGIAR donor support for these new programs.”

The initiative will also promote revolutionary transformations in rice agronomy, processing, and policy. The overall goal will be to serve farmers and consumers by increasing yields using improved seeds and agricultural practices, and by reducing postharvest losses (estimated at 20-30 percent of developing country production).

As part of a vigorous effort to strengthen national research capacities, the program will offer hundreds of developing country professionals—at least 30 percent of them women—the opportunity to take part in degree programs and training courses.

This global partnership is led by IRRI along with AfricaRice and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and includes two French organizations, the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) and L’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), as well as the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), with hundreds of other partners worldwide representing governments, the private sector and civil society. These partners actively shaped the research agenda of GRiSP and will play key roles in its implementation. GRiSP provides an example of how the CGIAR will operate in the future and which other research programmes will emulate.

GRiSP embodies key recommendations of Never an Empty Bowl: Sustaining Food Security in Asia, an international taskforce report released in late September by IRRI and the Asia Society. Calling for new efforts to “raise and sustain the productivity of rice farmers,” the report proposes innovative mechanisms to pay for this work, including one in which rice-growing nations would fund rice research on the basis of the value of domestic production.

###

GRiSP—the Global Rice Science Partnership—is an international alliance with hundreds of research and development partners worldwide that represents for the first time ever, a single strategic and work plan for global rice research. GRiSP aims to reduce poverty and hunger, improve human health and nutrition, reduce the environmental footprint and enhance ecosystem resilience of rice production systems through high-quality international rice research, partnership, and leadership. The International Rice Research Institute (www.irri.org) leads GRiSP and principal partners within the CGIAR include AfricaRice and CIAT.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for sustainable development with the funders of this work. The funders include developing and industrialized country governments, foundations, and international and regional organizations. The work they support is carried out by 15 members of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector. www.cgiar.orghttp://cgiarconsortium.cgxchange.org.

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77 thoughts on “"Climate-Ready" Rice

  1. Cutting-edge research aimed at discovering new rice genes and deciphering their functions will feed into accelerated efforts to break the yield barrier in rice and to breed new generations of “climate-ready” rice with flooding tolerance and other traits that are essential for adapting production in the face of climate change. The initiative is expected to boost supplies enough to reduce anticipated increases in rice prices by an average of at least 6.5% by 2020, and at least 13% by 2035.
    When zombie rice is stalking the earth, breaking barriers, breeding new generations, and flooding tolerance, you’ll be sorry.

  2. hmmm….
    ‘Cutting-edge research aimed at discovering new rice genes and deciphering their functions will feed into accelerated efforts to break the yield barrier in rice and to breed new generations of “climate-ready” rice’
    Climate-ready sounds as reassuring (not!) as Roundup-ready….what some folks
    call “Franken foods”. It sounds like a lot of money will be changing hands
    similar to other climate-related, er, research.
    And, in the interest of productivity, the farmers will no longer be allowed to farm
    (leaving it to big Agribusiness), thereby losing what little income they currently have.
    Hopefully someone sees through this before another seed stock is reduced in variety and diversity….burned to a GRiSP….sad….

  3. Well if your ignore the Climate BS, (and hope its not a GM frankenfood) then anything that helps farmers to farm better, get higher yields, lower wastage, etc is generally a good move.
    This sort of thing has been going on for about 200 years, just without the silly press releases.

  4. Has anyone else noticed that,
    significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
    and
    significantly increased emergence of lefty taxes
    almost rhyme.
    That I’m afraid is the best I can do with this one. When will they admit that they lost the climate wars and now it’s just Marxism vs democracy.
    Check back in a few years to see who won.

  5. One has to hope this doesn’t mean that they will do to rice what they did to GMO Corn… turn it into empty calories.
    “Let them eat cardboard” II.

  6. This sounds like GMO. Certainly hope not. That assault on nature should be terminated (like the terminator seeds now developed). The GMO Roundup Ready soybean has now produced super weeds that Roundup can not stop. Companies destroying food supplies need to be vigorously investigated. The Europeans actually burn the test fields of GMO crops, but we apparently sit by and hope our watchdog agencies will protect us. Unfortunately those revolving doors usually slam in the face of the public not the guilty.

  7. Improving rice yield per hectare is a good objective. It will definitely help reduce poverty in many poorer countries by stabilizing the price of rice, the main staple food for many Asians. But adding “climate ready” to the rice is just meant for rent-seeking and to attract more funding, more loans, more subsidies, from many governments and foreign aid bodies, to help “fight man-made warming and climate change” scam.

  8. Reduce GHG?“Doubling the CO2 concentration from 330 to 660 μmol CO2/mol air resulted in a 32 % increase in grain yield.”
    And even if rising CO2 caused any significant increase to global temperatures, such increase occurs LEAST in tropical regions thus increasing the latitude (potential growing area) and growing season for rice, (and many other food crops).
    So basically we can do better than them by just waiting and not doing anything at all.
    Besides, as anyone ought to know by now, whether it is genetically designed or not, putting any food crop into a one strain ‘basket’ is a very BAD idea. “OOOPS! We didn’t realize disease ‘X’ was going affect this. We’re sorry.. ”
    Now if I was a conspiracy theorist I might suspect that people like John Ehrlich might push a given genetically designed crop for the sole purpose of actually being able to cause a world food shortage and thereby starve off the unwashed masses of the third world who are hurting mother Gaia. But I’m no conspiracy theorist.

  9. “climate change” research with a pratical benefit to mankind! Whatever will they think of next?
    Maybe it’s not worse than we thought after all.

  10. Do I understand this correctly?
    Some NGOs are going to get $600 million to teach the Japanese, Vietnamese (in Hanoi?), Thais, and Indians to grow rice?
    Well. That’s certainly a novel idea.
    PS – I wonder why the meeting wasn’t held in Saigon rather than Hanoi, since after all the Mekong Delta is the rice basket for the entire country.

  11. Very minor impact when you consider that global population increases by approx. 76 million annually.

  12. UNFCCC website once had an article that emphasized the methane contribution of rice paddy agriculture, stating that this represented the single great source of anthorpogenic greenhouse gas production.
    “Using satellite data, investigators determined that wetlands contribute from 53% to 58% of global methane emissions and that rice paddies are responsible for more than a quarter of that output. ”
    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1953751,00.html#ixzz14vNkPpZZ

  13. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole enterprise ends up with a snap, crackle and pop!
    On the other hand, I can see them makeing a new brand of cereal: Rice GRiSPies.

  14. Roundup Ready Canola is already on its way to becoming a pest beyond measure here in Saskatchewan. Lesson learned.

  15. This is a very fine initiative. Let’s not knock it. Its a win-win situation, more food, less habitat loss. It too bad that people at Greenpeace and similar organizations have been so hostile to new varieties such as “golden rice” which would have stopped (and still may stop) thousands of children in third-world countries from going blind from Vitamin A deficiency.
    I wonder how much rice yields per acre will increase (or have increased) because of the extra carbon dioxide they are getting? Does anyone know of any quantitative estimates on this?

  16. Wonder if they’ll be selecting for cold tolerance as well as disease resistance and yield.
    I certainly hope so!

  17. Great just what we need…more GMO. Let me guess, Monsanto is gonna have a hand in this in one way or another.

  18. I’m all for lifting people out of poverty. One problem is, just about everything proposed by the AGWers is counterproductive.
    This article says they hope to reduce rice prices by 13% by 2035.
    http://www.fao.org/economic/est/publications/rice-publications/rice-market-monitor-rmm/en/
    Rice price index : 2005 125, 2006 137, 2007 161, 2008 295, 2009 253, 2010 (Jan-Jun) 222.
    Does anyone really think that a 13% reduction over 25 years would even be noticed?
    My sneaking suspicion is that this whole thing is yet another counterproductive effort – ie, it will keep more people in poverty for longer than necessary – but I would have to think about it a bit more to substantiate that.

  19. So, yet again the politicians are allowed their useless input.
    They appear to be bereft of what is actually happening, right under their snouts.

  20. Err if are they talking about a rice breeding program what exactly is their point. There have been IMF and WHO funded vegetable and cereal seed breeding programs in place since just about before time began to assist developing countries increase their produce production. International collaboration is also an important part of these breeding programs where breeding expertise is supplied from developed countries. Also for accelerating seed multiplication across seasons. Oh and all breeding programs are about increasing yield and disease resistance.

  21. Scattershooting:
    It seems to me a better acronym would have emerged if the outfit’s name were changed from Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to Consultative International Group on Agricultural Research (CIGAR).
    I am not generally against genetic modification beyond the slight Luddite reaction to any science or technology I don’t understand. It’s the curse of humanity. I would, as a result of that innate Luddism, prefer that natural mutations of crops that exhibit desired traits be bred for production with other preferred strains. :shrug: Whichever works.
    Wouldn’t it much more cost effective to spread that billion pounds of CO₂ over the fields?

  22. Nikolai Vavilov did great work in crop study, yields and varieties of cereal grains. He collected samples from all over the world and characterized their properties. Unfortunately he starved to death in prison during Stalins rule because his ideas based on genetics fell out of political favor due to the false science of vernalization. This isn’t the first time that science has been determined by politics.

  23. The following below are the main International Centers for food crop research.
    They are staffed by the best and brightest food and crop scientists from every nation. Without these centers which are almost unknown amongst the general public there would already be wide spread hunger and famine right across the planet but over more than 5 decades the scientists of these major world food grain / plant and livestock research centers, without publicity or without any thoroughly deserved recognition of their immense achievements have made huge advances in yield increases, disease resistance, pest control, grain food quality, drought resistance and a numerous other attributes in our global food crops and livestock.
    Unfortunately in our western media almost the entire concentration has been on the role of the northern hemisphere chemical and crop production corporations with the hostile to advancement, environmental movement in particular openly denigrating any and all advances in food crop research and production.
    The major world food centers listed below which are funded by international agreement have over the last decade suffered severe funding cuts from the backwash of this very negative publicity generated by the environmental movement which has for it’s own self glorification, generated and spread anti food research propaganda amongst the public for many years now.
    Yet it is from these World Centers that the greatest advances in food production have come from over the last half century with the consequence that all the previous and numerous forecasts of impending catastrophic global food shortages and global famine that have been promulgated over the last 60 years by numerous self styled experts have never come about.
    Nor are the public at all aware that there is a very wide spread network of high tech repositories where the seeds of all of the world’s food crops and the collections of seeds from the wild grasses and plants where all of mankind’s food crops have originated from are stored in these repositories.
    These repositories supply seeds, sometimes no more than two or three seeds from say a rare grass that may have been collected somewhere in central Asia [ where our modern grain crops originated from ] to crop breeders and researchers somewhere else in the world to enable crosses to be made from which that breeder hopes he / she may incorporate another desirable gene group such as another disease resistant gene into his / her new variety of crop.
    If the breeder succeeds and that will only be say one successful commercial variety from say 20 or 30, 000 crosses and a decade of work then mankind adds another small capability to his ability to continue to feed our growing global population and with a higher quality product.
    There is a very sophisticated system of cross national food grain research centers which are all closely interlinked through research co-operation , constant science personnel interchanges, plant breeding material interchange and numerous unpublicised interchanges and conferences amongst that grossly underpublicised group of Crop Science researchers on whose science the entire world now unknowingly and apparently uncaring for relies on for their entire food supplies both now and long into the future.
    Without these Crop Science researchers famine would have regularly stalked the planet for most of the last half century.
    And their reward is far lower pay than the celebrated and totally non productive climate scientists and a complete absence of recognition and a casual dismissal of their achievements by a very well fed public.
    Below is the list of the major international food research centers;
    Africa Rice Center
    Bioversity International
    CIAT – Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical
    CIFOR – Center for International Forestry Research
    CIMMYT – Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo
    CIP – Centro Internacional de la Papa
    ICARDA – International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
    ICRISAT – International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
    IFPRI – International Food Policy Research Institute
    IITA – International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
    ILRI – International Livestock Research Institute
    IRRI – International Rice Research Institute
    IWMI – International Water Management Institute
    World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
    WorldFish Center
    From; http://www.cgiar.org/centers/index.html

  24. Genetic changes? breeding new strains of rice?
    seems to me that for 600 million dollars you could buy tractors for farming communities and make a real difference.

  25. I think you’ve missed the point here. By starting this you-beaut new program to increase crop yield, when the added CO2 boosts plant growth, as we, and they, know it must, they will then be able to say they did it.

  26. new generations of “climate-ready” rice with flooding tolerance
    I thought the stuff grows in flooded fields.

  27. Dave Wendt says:
    November 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm
    “One wonders what Norman Borlaug might have been able to accomplish with access to that kind of dough.”
    Precisely my first thought. One Norman is worth a world full of grifters like the ones in this story. Isn’t this about the third iteration of the miracle rice story in the last 40 years? Somebody just plant the damn stuff and let’s feed the people.

  28. If you want to know what really happens if you actually feed the world’s poor; or at least those of the poor nations.
    Well that experiment has been tried.
    People who have successfully overpopulated their own countries; beyond their ability to provide food for their masses; are now moving to California; and they immediately set about producing as many children as they did back in their own country; but whereas in those third world countries a big fraction of those kids didn’t survive the lack of food; here in the USA they have plenty of food; but still the parents don’t pay any heed to the fact that now ALL of their children are surviving; they just keep on reproducing; haven’t learned a thing from having no shortage of food now.
    And for the legal disclaimer; I don’t care how many children anybody wants to have; just provide for them yourself; and don’t expect others to do it for you.

  29. “One of the world’s largest…global…sustainable…bold new…dramatically…most comprehensive…diversity…Cutting-edge…accelerated efforts…essential…there is no question…deforestation…high-quality international…a comprehensive vision…revolutionary transformations…vigorous effort…hundreds of other partners…worldwide…key roles…key recommendations…international taskforce…innovative mechanisms…hundreds of R&D partners…for the first time ever….”
    Does this set your propaganda detector off? It does mine.

  30. Gary wrote, “I wonder why the meeting wasn’t held in Saigon rather than Hanoi”. That’s because Hanoi is the seat of the central govt while Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh) is the commercial center. Since CGIAR and IRRI projects are govt projects, they seek the blessing and approval of central govt officials. From rice to climate, it’s all politics for them.

  31. I thought this sort of thing was already going on around the world. Are these guys just trying to cash in on their “climate-ready rice” slogan?

  32. The anti-GMO “much bad magic” medeival superstition expressed on this thread threatens to undermine WUWT’s reputation for scientific objectivity. Anti-GMO is as perniciously anti-intellectual anti-science class war as the CAGW and anti-nuclear movements.
    Our human genome contains an untidy assemblage of DNA cut and pasted from numerous different organisms including viruses, all by 100% natural processes. GMO introduces nothing fundamentally new and dangerous – not a single one of the catastrophist scare stories has come to pass. WUWT posters should hold themselves to a higher intellectual standard of scientific objectivity and understanding.
    Genetic technology as reported here is a very positive thing for humanity and should be supported.

  33. So with the skills suggested by that press release, shall I assume there will be no rice crop in x years?

  34. Being anti-GMO not does not threaten WUWT’s scientific integrity, in fact, quite the opposite. Honest crop scientists do not need to feel threatened. Surely no one one this site is opposed to research that would lead to the betterment of mankind. However, if one is getting their information right off the Monsanto website, his view of the wonderful world of GMOs will be skewed like a ,ummm, hockey stick. This is the company that left a town to die from exposure to PCBs, it talks honest farmers into inoculating their milk cows with rBST which has negative effects on the cows and those drinking the milk, and animals fed GMO soy products do not thrive. These are just a few examples. Next we are getting a new Frankenfish — just legalized.
    Most famine in the world is caused by wars. Native populations are often denied their means of survival by outsiders who instigate warfare for greedy reasons. (Why is my oil, cobalt, gold … buried under your soil?) If you read Weston Price, a truly honest scientist, you will learn that before western intervention most natural societies got along just fine. His surprising finding (backed up with over 50,000 photographs and years of research) was that the native populations, though lagging in technology were light years ahead in understanding what made for healthy humans. When you consider that cancer rates and degenerative diseases are at an all time high, you should look at the food supply first. The science is not settled.

  35. There is a much better way to achieve this same goal:
    Let the countries industrialize. With full industrialized farming methods, the yields of crops go up, the land needed for farming goes down, and people are free to do things with their lives outside of farming. This is what the industrial revolution has done for all of the other nations of the Earth.
    A lot of people have pointed out the use of GMO’s, which although they might allow a higher yields, the third world can get much better yields simply by fully industrializing and using industrial techniques in farming such as tractors instead of animals…
    The end effect of this : Lowers CO2 consumption after awhile and lets lands sit fallow free to be homes to Gaia’s little critters. In addition, allows more people to live in cities (Ivory Towers) and pass judgement on others and tell them how they should live their lives.
    I often think that this is the issue (and ironic to boot).. to an environmentalist, industrialization is bad when in fact without industry, the environmentalist would not exist since he would be too busy farming to care about the environment.
    I should put a disclaimer: When I say environmentalist, I mean the modern breed who has lost site of being a true steward to the planet and just wants socialism.

  36. Maybe I have to read the announcement again. It seemed like “We hope to improve rice production at some time in the dimly seen future so please praise and support us now.”

  37. phlogiston says:
    November 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm
    The anti-GMO “much bad magic” medeival superstition expressed on this thread threatens to undermine WUWT’s reputation for scientific objectivity
    I will agree with you that genetic modifications have been happening continually in food plants either by chance randomly or by choice and the extensive use of grafting.
    In my country garden there is a wild olive tree ( coming up from seed) that has nice big olives. I could see the gleam in a forefather’s eye who would choose to graft from this tree the whole grove of wild olive trees.
    What I object strongly in GM is the use of it to make sterile plants so the people have to buy the seed from companies instead of putting seed aside for the next crop.
    I object strongly. It is interfering with the natural order and is a time bomb that could destroy food production given some human induced (WWIII) or natural disaster conditions and maybe send us to extinction as a human race and not only our societies.
    And this is a political thread, imo, not a scientific one.

  38. Hate to say this but these reports leave me cold, frozen, distraught.
    We have climate ready rice, cooler clime rice, warmer clime rice, much higher yielding rice, easier to plant rice (just chuck the seeds out a helicopter). We have a no cure no pay contract. Guess what nobody will go with it. Plus its certified organic, uses nano molecular stimulation of existing but dormant gene expressions. Can even mix seeds to multiply various resistance thus if floods occur only a fraction of the crop suffers.
    Nope these reports, list of concerned agencies just make me tear my hair out.

  39. tj: Surely you jest. “Most famine” is not caused by wars (except perhaps in 20th C Europe)’ but by lack of a transportation infrastructure. As for “natural societies” knowing all about what makes for healthy human beans, I guess that accounts for those same societies’ incredible life expectancies? Close, but no CGIAR. L

  40. …will significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from rice production through the adoption of improved irrigation methods and by avoiding deforestation. More than 1.2 million hectares of forest, wetlands, and other natural ecosystems will be saved by 2035 because rice production will not need to expand into new areas…
    Even if this program achieves it’s goals, there is no reduction here; at best, a preservation of the status quo. Typical political babble, like government spending “cuts” that only reduce future increases.
    In any case, dare one point out a non-PC truth? Increasing the food supply in poor nations leads directly to increases in population. Both animals and humans tend to reproduce to the limit that the food-supply can support, with the marginalized members of the community always on the edge of starvation.

  41. L says, November 11, 2010 at 12:15 am:
    “tj: Surely you jest. “Most famine” is not caused by wars (except perhaps in 20th C Europe)’ but by lack of a transportation infrastructure.”
    Do you mean that local tribal warlords are not a big factor in not being able to set up said transportation infrastructure in the first place?

  42. When I read this puff-piece, my BS detector almost deafened me. Honest agrarian scientists have been toiling in the field of increasing crop yeilds, disease-resistant strains etc for just about everything edible almost since modern scientific agriculture emerged and research institutions around the world in this field are legion. Most quietly get on with the job but have to battle idiot politicians who want to divert already scarce research funding into dealing with the non-problems of AGW.

  43. If the sarcasm is directed at the frivolous press release AGW nonsense, then that’s fine.
    But if the sarcasm is directed at the hard working agricultural scientists, who are hard at work outside of the Bayer Crop Science/Monsanto/All others cartel, then it is misplaced.
    This piece did not make the difference clear, and therefore did nothing to support the role of real, honest scientific effort for the advancement of mankind.
    The headline commentary is not up to scratch.

  44. Sounds like an application for Carbon Tax funds offset from Europe, ie GMO research funded by Carbon Cap and Tax funds from the EU. As the EU is against GMO I wish them well in their futile efforts.

  45. Alexander k, well said. There are those that do and those that talk. Some great work bring done on plant diversity and saving valuable species. Monoculture leads to insane risks.
    It is said that 95% of the American corn crop is inedible. It has to be factory chemically processed to make it edible but fails to make it food. Thats why most obese people in the USA are starving.

  46. John Game says:
    November 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm
    This is a very fine initiative. Let’s not knock it. Its a win-win situation, more food, less habitat loss. It too bad that people at Greenpeace and similar organizations have been so hostile to new varieties such as “golden rice” which would have stopped (and still may stop) thousands of children in third-world countries from going blind from Vitamin A deficiency.
    ———-wrong!-
    the years effort and money for Bolaugs golden rice was wasted, theyd have done better to supply non gm crops that grow there, or vitamin pills! the GM corn that the italians were touting is about as useless too..
    the green revolution ? hmm? groewing 3 monocrops a year, now means the Brown leaf hopper doesnt get a slow time and its having a lot of fun in the fields now.
    the Green rev rice breeds were pushed hard, they destroyed the Old varieties, now they need them..
    and CGIAR are a GM support crew in disguise.
    William Engdahl has researched terminator genes the USDA and interesting political figures links to both. his page
    or Global research -search- terminator genes- Engdahl. Delta Pine and Land. truly sucks!!

  47. So when will the Sierra Club come out and try to take over these wetlands and turn them back into natural forrests?
    When I see progress, I always see doo gooders fight it.
    I like Alexandeer K’s post. Yes the city folk will send out their MBA’s and environmentalists and teach farmers and seed companies how to improve.
    Keep these people out of the way of agriculture.

  48. Mike M says:
    November 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Reduce GHG?“Doubling the CO2 concentration from 330 to 660 μmol CO2/mol air resulted in a 32 % increase in grain yield.”

    Rice production is responsible for half the annual anthropogenic methane emissions.

  49. @ L
    You need to do your research. Start by reading Dr. Price’s book, written in the 1930s. You will be very surprised to find out how long and well many of the “uncivilized” lived. (He wasn’t political, he was a dedicated scientist.)
    Making technological and industrial progress is a noble goal, but it must be positive advancement not technological change that may do far more harm than good.
    Not to say that there was never warring among different peoples, but modern day “tribal’ warfare is most often stirred up from afar.

  50. This appears to be the dreaded GM having an effect of cutting CO2 emissions (& on the side keeping millions of people alive). The “Green” movement will be split 2 ways on this (4 ways if the keeping people alive stuff is included).

  51. From: Grey Lensman on November 11, 2010 at 6:54 am:

    It is said that 95% of the American corn crop is inedible. It has to be factory chemically processed to make it edible but fails to make it food. Thats why most obese people in the USA are starving.

    “Grain of truth” lost in a bucket of “healthy eating advocate” hogwash. From Wikipedia:

    Pellagra

    When maize was first introduced into other farming systems than those used by traditional native-American peoples, it was generally welcomed with enthusiasm for its productivity. However, a widespread problem of malnutrition soon arose wherever maize was introduced as a staple food. This was a mystery since these types of malnutrition were not normally seen among the indigenous Americans, for whom maize was the principal staple food.[12]
    It was eventually discovered that the indigenous Americans had learned to soak maize[citation needed] in alkali-water—made with ashes by North Americans and lime (calcium oxide) by Mesoamericans—which liberates the B-vitamin niacin, the lack of which was the underlying cause of the condition known as pellagra. This alkali process is known by its Nahuatl (Aztec)-derived name: nixtamalization.
    Besides the lack of niacin, pellagra was also characterized by protein deficiency, a result of the inherent lack of two key amino acids in pre-modern maize, lysine and tryptophan. Nixtamalisation was also found to increase the availability of lysine and tryptophan to some extent, but more importantly, the indigenous Americans had also learned to balance their consumption of maize with beans and other protein sources such as amaranth and chia, as well as meat and fish, in order to acquire the complete range of amino acids for normal protein synthesis.
    Since maize had been introduced into the diet of non-indigenous Americans without the necessary cultural knowledge acquired over thousands of years in the Americas, the reliance on maize in other cultures was often tragic. In the late 19th century pellagra reached epidemic proportions in parts of the deep southern U.S. … [cut]
    Once alkali processing and dietary variety were understood and applied, pellagra disappeared. The development of high lysine maize and the promotion of a more balanced diet has also contributed to its demise.

    That’s where the chemical processing comes from. Also, look at the numbers:

    U.S. usage breakdown
    The breakdown of usage of the 12.1 billion bushel 2008 U.S. corn crop was as follows, according to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report by the USDA.[49]
    * 5.25 billion bu. – Livestock feed
    * 3.65 billion bu. – Ethanol production
    * 1.85 billion bu. – Exports
    * 943 million bu. – Production of Starch, Corn Oil, Sweeteners (HFCS,etc.)
    * 327 million bu. – Human consumption – grits, corn flower, corn meal, beverage alcohol

    That’s 12.0 billion bushels total, of which only 2.72% is directly intended for human consumption. With a further breakdown of “Starch, Corn Oil, Sweeteners” and identifying what gets used in human food, you’ll likely end up with a total at around 5% human consumption, thus 95% was never human food to begin with.
    So “traditional” corn needs chemical processing to release nutrients, even then it’s not a “complete” staple food and needs to be eaten with a mix of other foods. If your body was craving for certain nutrients and you kept eating more corn and corn products trying to get them, yeah you’d get obese and still be malnourished (“starving”). Nearly all of the corn grown in the US isn’t for humans anyway thus has no need to edible with or without the chemical processing (and cooking, which wasn’t mentioned).
    Grain of truth, lost in the propaganda.

  52. As I understand it, the rate of decomposition of methane increases as its partial pressure increases. The higher the ppm, the higher its partial pressure, the faster it decomposes. Natural limiting process.
    A combination of corn and beans provides all of the amino acids.
    American Indians, before Europeans arived, consumed a combination of beans and corn (beans were planted so that the beans used the cornstalks as a trellis). American Indians were remarkably healthy, strong and tall, compared with the puny, ill-nourished and disease-ridden Europeans that first arrived.

  53. anna v says:
    November 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm
    phlogiston says:
    November 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm
    And this is a political thread, imo, not a scientific one.
    Well I guess your right.
    Tanks in Tiannenman square and dishonest car salesmen dont call into question our use of the internal combustion engine. They just point to bad human nature.
    Likewise the sales tactics of Monsanto and their kind, the notorious sterile seeds etc. This is commercial oppression but does not fundamentally question the existence of transgenic technology.
    Someone ought to get non-sterile versions of all their seeds and distribute them widely to break their slave-owner-like hold on 3rd world farmers. Break their control like music downloaders and file-sharers broke the control of the music business.

  54. From LarryOldtimer on November 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm:

    A combination of corn and beans provides all of the amino acids.

    Of the “essential” amino acids that human bodies don’t make, soybeans are considered a “complete” source of all of them. Without them, it takes quite a varied diet to get by without animal protein sources, with nuts being a good choice.

    American Indians, before Europeans arived, consumed a combination of beans and corn (beans were planted so that the beans used the cornstalks as a trellis). American Indians were remarkably healthy, strong and tall, compared with the puny, ill-nourished and disease-ridden Europeans that first arrived.

    As has been mentioned on this site before when diet was discussed, and despite the Wikipedia chunk I pasted above, corn wasn’t the principle staple food of those healthy Native Americans. They relied heavily on animal food sources. See this piece: Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans. It’s quite revealing, and not for the squeamish. 😉

  55. Neither is Soy a principal asian diet. Its limited use as a fermented condiment is just about ok. But its use as a chemical feedstock pretending to be food is criminal. It blocks mineral adsorption and is loaded with female hormone mimics. The Stupid claim ‘organic soy milk’ is a complete oxymoron. Plus soy is responsible for massive destruction and pollution of tropical rain forests. Unlike palm, it needs loads of chemical fertilser and pesticides. In short it should be banned.

  56. phlogiston said on November 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm:

    Someone ought to get non-sterile versions of all their seeds and distribute them widely to break their slave-owner-like hold on 3rd world farmers. Break their control like music downloaders and file-sharers broke the control of the music business.

    Except they don’t really exist. These are hybrids made from strains that don’t combine naturally to make offspring that reproduce, they’re not true strains. The seed companies don’t sell horses and donkeys, they sell mules and hinnies. They’re F1 Hybrids. If you can get any reproduction, you’re very likely not going to get the traits to breed true.
    This isn’t something to blame Monsanto et al strongly for. Every time they make a particular hybrid, they invest a growing season, having to carefully plant and pollinate the crop then wait and see what yield of hybrid seed they’ll get. And that’s after working for many seasons to figure out how to get a particular hybrid with the desired traits. They make their investments, they deserve to benefit from them.
    To get non-sterile seed, you’d have to spend decades doing selective breeding to get a true new strain. Then farmers could save harvested seed for next year. And sellers of the strain might only see some one-time sales to some farmers, after which it may spread throughout a farming community. Thus, they may likely never see any profit. That’s the sort of work done by non-profit foundations and true academics who don’t have to worry about making profits, and home gardeners who spend their lives doing such for the sake of horticulture.
    So, you start signing people up (yes you, phlogiston), all of you can pool your efforts into making strains that perform as good as the hybrids, and you can distribute to third-world farmers and anyone else you want as cheaply as you can. Which BTW, follows the “open source” model of software development that gave us Linux, Open Office, GIMP, etc. Heck, if you wanted to avoid commercialization of the strains and those derived from them, check out the GNU public license and similar used for open source software, and some music and other types of artwork and writings, etc. Shouldn’t take much to license a new plant strain in that way.

  57. Kadaka writes a long post that says nothing but implies that cooking is chemical processing, that you need to process corn to get the nutrients, that lol only 5% is grown for human consumption (so the chemical processing is ok). whilst at the same time he ignores the dedicated research by such stalwart independents as Weston Price. Well Global warmers like a lot of words backed up by science. Does not mean a whole lot.
    HFCS, made from corn, gets very bad reviews ( the consumers hate it, for good reason) oh dear lets change the name to corn sugar. Does that thinking ring any bells.

  58. rbateman says:November 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm
    One has to hope this doesn’t mean that they will do to rice what they did to GMO Corn… turn it into empty calories.

    That is the purpose. Corn was never the best all around nutritional crop. It’s efficient at carbohydrate production, being a C4 plant (as is rice). So researchers obviously used the natural efficiency of the plant to increase yield/acre. That is what is important, producing the most of various species to maximize yield/acre of each individual organism. If you need protein, eat soya or meat or turnip/beet tops or wild curly dock from the road ditches. Novel idea there.
    tj says: November 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm
    This sounds like GMO. Certainly hope not. That assault on nature should be terminated (like the terminator seeds now developed). The GMO Roundup Ready soybean has now produced super weeds that Roundup can not stop.

    Do you even know how what was done to produce GMO species? They inserted a gene which produced an enzyme that allowed the production of an amino acid which Roundup inhibits. It doesn’t impede your production of anything. This gene is found in nature in microorganisms which you ingest when breathing dust. When you consume food produced by this method, your stomach degrades genes to amino acids, the one in question you already have, so it doesn’t bother you. If eating genes was a problem, you’d have leaves for ears, or look like a pig.
    As for the few superweeds, Roundup kills 99.9% of agricultural “weeds”. Poor farming techniques led to increasing pressure of resistant weeds (in the US mostly kochia, pigweed, and mares tail). Crop rotation eliminates the competition. It’s the ubiquitous profit motive of farmers that causes the problems, growing the same crop/variety year after year (and I own land and farm). Of the .1% of weeds that are resistant, most are broadleaf species for which there are literally dozens of other “bad” chemicals that are highly effective. Rotate crops (or even chemicals) and kill the tolerant species. Roundup is just the cheapest. When or where it doesn’t work, it eventually won’t be used. Your problem solved.
    Steven Hoffer says: November 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm
    Genetic changes? breeding new strains of rice?
    seems to me that for 600 million dollars you could buy tractors for farming communities and make a real difference.

    Excellent suggestion.
    And to others, yes rice can be killed by flooding. Best management practices require a constant flood of ~3″ (~7.5 cm) following emergence. In advanced nations, rice is seeded into the ground (or aerially spread), flooded, then drained until the plant reaches that height, then control flooded again until harvest. In nations that grow the rice in nursery beds, then transplant them in the field, the plant can be submerged in anoxic water and die when the plant is short in early spring when rains come. What they need to do is spend the money on laser guided land levelers and ditching machines, and also tractors. And developing a protein-producing plant that grows in wet conditions for additional human nutritional needs and crop rotation. You see tj, there are even plants resistant to flooding. Imagine that.

  59. phlogiston said on November 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm:
    Someone ought to get non-sterile versions of all their seeds and distribute them widely to break their slave-owner-like hold on 3rd world farmers.
    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    November 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm
    Except they don’t really exist.

    Not true in any fashion, for any plant. The National Seed Depository in Fort Collins, CO. has about every specie known to exist. And there are sites on the web where you can get seeds of the major crop species to survive the coming hard times. Non sterile corn yields about 50 bu/acre, whereas the mules produce 250 bu/ac on my farm in Neb. And smut is a problem in the native species.

  60. Grey Lensman says: November 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm
    Neither is Soy a principal asian diet. Unlike palm, it needs loads of chemical fertilser and pesticides. In short it should be banned.

    Gimme a break. Have you ever heard of tofu? Soy needs phosphorus and potassium, but not nitrogen. Sugar needs to be banned.

  61. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    November 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm
    I’m a bit busy right now to take up world-saving as a hobby. Plus I left behind plant genetics at my undergraduate days. But its interesting that the GM strains are F1 hybrids – I guess the sterility comes from polyploidy – multiplied chromatin copies? BTW all this sounds more like conventional breeding techniques than supposedly scary transgenic technology. (BTW I am with you 100% in being opposed to left-wing political Monsanto-bashing – as I indicated in my first post.) In mice they can use recombinant techniques to edit in alleles and fix them quite quickly in a knock-out or knock-in strain. Perhaps the high levels of ploidy in plants make this difficult?
    I guess as you say it would just take several generations of sorting to fix an allele in a breeding population. A simple example would be roundup (herbicide) resistance – any progeny lacking the resistance gene would simply die.

  62. *sigh*
    From Grey Lensman on November 12, 2010 at 4:51 am:

    Kadaka writes a long post that says nothing but implies that cooking is chemical processing…

    Nope. The cooking wasn’t mentioned, but it’s normally done before consuming so I added it in. Some may consider that “chemical processing” as it likely breaks down some starches into more-consumable carbohydrates, as with potatoes. As it is, very little corn is produced like the freely-available Sweet Corn, with wet plump grains that can be eaten raw. Nearly all of it is in dried form suitable for long-term storage and easy transport, which would be very hard for humans to consume without cooking.

    …that you need to process corn to get the nutrients…

    To get the niacin from “traditional” corn, yup. Since enriched flour is the norm in the “Western” world, with niacin being one of the added nutrients, niacin deficiency isn’t much of an issue with a varied diet. Feel free to eat farm-fresh sweet corn without chemical processing. Also, as with the mention of the developed high-lysine varieties, there may be strains out there right now which do not require the processing, which is why I refer to “traditional” corn using quote marks.

    …that lol only 5% is grown for human consumption (so the chemical processing is ok).

    Such chemical processing was okay with the Native Americans. The 5% was a rough total, when not concerned about the niacin and making starch, corn oil, and sweeteners, the chemical processing isn’t needed.

    whilst at the same time he ignores the dedicated research by such stalwart independents as Weston Price.

    Which was clearly indicated when I linked right to the Weston Price site for the “Guts and Grease” article. Which specifically mentions the use of “nixtamalizacion,” the dreaded “chemical processing” you’re griping about!
    What happened? Were you irked that I didn’t reply to your post against soy last night? Or that I mentioned soy at all in a manner that sounded positive?
    For the record, I’m no great fan of soy for human consumption either. Tofurkey should be labeled a federal offense against our traditional US national holidays. I think at least half the population would be upset if it was openly and frequently stated that the cardiovascular benefits of eating large amounts of soy products come from the “feminizing” estrogen-related substances, just as estrogen provides women with such protection before menopause. We have freely-available lactose-free dairy products, thus no need for “soy milk” due to lactose intolerance, and by the time they get done processing soybean juice until it’s “just as good as milk” they should be required to properly label it as a synthetic milk substitute.
    My mention of soy having all the essential amino acids came from here, one of the few “rational” sites I could find while searching for “vegetarian protein deficiency.” Yes, I have read “Soy Alert!” on the Weston A. Price Foundation site. It’s a good summarization, with references, of many things I have come across that indicate soy and soy products are not good for human consumption. I was all set to include that link in my reply to your soy post, which I decided to put off to this morning…

  63. The best info I have seen on rice–doubled yields in a single year, and improved results in subsequent generations–was Sonic Bloom in Indonesia. I just checked the website http://www.originalsonicbloom.com and the rice articles are gone. The site changes all the time as more farmers get the crop of their lives. Plenty of fun data exists on the site now, and you can order your very own supply.
    I have a two foot tall avocado tree in my house–I couldn’t get them to sprout in Denver without Sonic Bloom.

  64. How odd that these folks want to increase rice production while reducing “emissions of greenhouse gases.” Didn’t anyone tell them that CO2, the current GHG villain, is plant food? Talk about working at cross-purposes!
    Oh right: CO2 is believed to ’cause’ global warming. Now we wouldn’t want any of that, would we? Let’s see: a warmer climate, with more CO2, and what do you get? More crops, more rice production!
    Sometimes the ability of True Believers to ignore simple logic is beyond understanding.
    /Mr Lynn

  65. Thank you Kadaka for your clarification. You know I understand very well, cooking, processing, chemical treatment. There are major differences. It seems to me, that you make the point but fail to make the link. Telling is your reference to processing of carbohydrates. To me this is in effect the same as organic chemistry that turns crude oil into plastic and a myriad of other transformed products. In a lot of cases, this is what chemical processing does to food, converts it into something else.
    They do this with potato flour to make “fried” which frankly I find completely inedible.
    You also miss my other major point, mentioned and exampled by others, that the “research”, “experts” “years” needed to make small increases is bull, we have the means, the technology and the knowledge to make great advances now. And these processes are natural or organic and do not reply on genetic modification.
    Yes selective breeding is GM but it is not inserting insect genes or other silly ideas.

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