Address:Building 11, Beishan Industrial Zone, Yantian District, Shenzhen(518083)


    News Center

News Center

Updates on BGI’s developments in research, education and industry.

首页 About News Center BGI News Community Impact Harvests of Golden Innovation: BGI Group's Perennial Rice Reshaping Uganda's Fields

Harvests of Golden Innovation: BGI Group's Perennial Rice Reshaping Uganda's Fields

February 23, 2024 Views:

In the lush greenery of Luweero District in Uganda, a golden sea of rice sways under the January African sun, the field alive with the promise of a bountiful harvest. This was not just any rice; this was the perennial rice PR107, a marvel of agricultural innovation that will change the lives of local farmers. 

IMG_0038_0001 2.jpgPerennial rice variety PR107 planted in Uganda.

The story of PR107 begins with Professor Hu Fengyi from Yunnan University, who envisioned a rice that could thrive season after season without the need for replanting. His team crossbred the African wild rice (Oryza longistaminata) with Asian cultivated rice, using cutting-edge molecular marker technology from BGI Group. With the help of BGI Group, the perennial rice has been introduced into Uganda, providing a sustainable crop that could potentially revolutionize agriculture in regions plagued by food insecurity.

An expert from the FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)-China-Uganda South-South Cooperation (SSC) Program Phase 3, Luo Tingyue, stands amidst the ripening grains, a look of joy and satisfaction on his face. "We are now harvesting the perennial rice PR107,” he explains. “This is the second season it has been grown here and its most significant feature is that it is planted once and harvested multiple times."

Long Wenjing, another expert from the SSC Program, highlights the ongoing journey. "For perennial rice, we have conducted trials at two demonstration sites in Uganda, and the yield is significantly higher than that of some local traditional varieties."

In the rice-growing region of Butaleja, average yields per acre for traditional local rice were about 900 kilograms to 1.2 tons, while perennial rice is expected to yield about 1.5 to 2.5 tons.

However, this endeavor does not go without challenges. "There are issues such as the conditions of the irrigation facilities in Uganda and problems with disease and pest resistance, so we are still exploring solutions," Long explains.

Perennial rice, as one of the key technologies under the SSC Program, was introduced to African countries in 2018 and passed Uganda's stringent approval process in 2022, a testament to its adaptability and potential.

In January 2023, the third phase of the FAO-China-Uganda SSC Program was launched in Uganda, bringing new developments to Uganda’s 49 million people.

Zhang Wanling, a Project Manager at BGI Bioverse, a subsidiary of BGI Group, elaborates on the wider vision. "We have already planted PR107 in Madagascar, Malawi, Burundi, and Mozambique. This year, we are also planning to expand it to Tanzania, Kenya, and countries in West Africa, like Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire."

As the sun dips below the horizon, the day's harvest comes to an end, but the story of PR107 is just beginning. The rice, now collected and ready for processing, is more than just a crop. It is a symbol of international cooperation, a beacon of innovation, and above all, a source of life for the people of Uganda.



Perennial rice technology could help improve Africa's food security