New genomic resources for breeding better direct seeded rice in Ghana
About the project
UK-registered Partner: Rothamsted Research – Peter Eastmond
Africa-registered Partner: CSIR-Crops Research Institute – Maxwell Darko Asante
Rice is the second most important cereal after maize in Ghana and it is a major cash and food crop for most households. Demand for rice is increasing because of population growth, urbanisation and changing urban lifestyles.
Around 260,000 farmers are involved in rice production in Ghana, and most are smallholders. Even though transplanting is the officially recommended method of cultivating lowland rice, about 80% of farmers broadcast their seed (employ direct seeding) due the labour intensiveness and the high cost associated with transplanting. However, the commercial varieties available to the farmers were not bred for direct seeding.
Farmers lose large portions of their fields when they are subjected to stresses such as flooding during germination. The development of varieties that are tolerant to flooding and other stresses during germination seedling establishment will help farmer to use direct seeding without losing their crop.
In this project we sequenced the genomes of 91 rice varieties/landraces from Ghana and carried out phenotyping experiments, measuring anaerobic germination potential. This data will assist in the breeding of better direct seeded rice varieties for Ghana through the identification of donor material with beneficial traits and genetic markers to assist selection.
Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.