Impact on global food security


Rice belongs to the most important crops produced in the world. After maize, the production of rice has the second largest part in the total world grain production. According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), there was a tendency for a steady increase in the rice production during the last decades and it reached 650 million tons of paddy rice in 2007.

This research paper represents the overview of the literature that provides information on the current situation in the hybrid rice technology as well as a historical background of the hybrid rice innovation. The purpose of this paper is a critical review of the innovation history of hybrid rice technology including its impact on global food security.

The hybrids can be defined as a result of crossbreeding of two inbred, genetically distant varieties. The offspring in the first generation will be superior and produce higher yields due to the heterosis effect. Also, if continuous irrigation is available, the hybrid rice technology can increase the number of cropping seasons up to three times a year.

The significant contribution to the development of hybrid rice technology was made by Chinese scientist Yuan Longping, whose research conducted in 1960s, made a breakthrough in rice cultivation and put China in the leading position in the rice production. Nowadays, 50% of the rice cultivation area is planted with hybrid species. The hybrid rice production has become highly commercialized and creates significant employment in the world and plays important role in poverty alleviation.

The hybrid rice technology is also considered to be beneficial in terms of reduction of food insecurity. In the situation where the global community faces the problem of population growth on one side and the reduction of the crop land on the other the adoptation of the highly productive crop cultivation system which would provide the sufficient amount of healthy and nutritional food for population would be of great importance. The example of China shows that the hybrid rice technology has a potential to fulfill the requirements for the food production demand on a global level.

The international cooperation in this field would provide all stakeholders with advanced knowledge, effective mechanisms of coordination and control measures in all areas of hybrid rice cultivation. In conclusion, the adoption of the hybrid rice technology would be beneficial for global food security and poverty reduction.

Key words: hybrid rice technology, global food security, poverty alleviation, stakeholder


This section provides an overview of the importance of rice throughout the world and introduces the different cultivation systems, depended on water availability and ecological conditions.

Rice is a cereal grain. It is the seed of a monocot plant Oryza sativa. It is considered as the most important staple food for a large part of the world population. East-, South-, South East Asia, the Middle East and Latin American countries are the biggest rice consumers. The quantity of rice produced is the second largest in total world grain production, after maize (FAO STAT, 2006).

Rice is very labor intensive to cultivate and it requires plenty of water for its growth. Therefore the cultivation is well suited to countries and regions with low labor cost and high rainfall.

Nutritional Value of Rice

A Japanese proverb says: "Eat rice before battle and you will be victorious". Or as Brigham Young puts it:"Don't give your children pork for breakfast. Give them rice and fruit instead" (Noguchi, 2006). In terms of its nutritious value, rice is the most important calorie source for human consumption as it provides more than one fifth of total calorie intake (SMITH, 1998). Table 1 below gives an overview of its nutritional components.

Rice Cultivation Systems

Rice can grow practically anywhere from flat lowland to steep hill or mountain areas. Parent species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa. Through trade and exportation, rice cultivation nowadays spread out to many countries worldwide.

The water availability, depending on different ecologies, determines its growth intensification and system. Rain-fed lowland rice is grown on puddled soil in fields bounded by dykes that can pond water to depths. If the water depth is between 0-15 cm, it's known as shallow cultivation. If the depth is between 15-30 cm, it is known as medium rain-fed low land rice cultivation. In this low land rain-fed cultivation method, water is not provided by irrigation systems but by rainfall, run off or by a local catchment area. In contrast, the low land irrigated areas use irrigation water from river diversions, storage reservoirs or deep wells. Upland rice is grown in fields that are not bunded, but are prepared and seeded under dry conditions and depend on rainfall. In India and throughout South East Asia, upland rice cultivation is common along river banks. In South and South East Asia only some 13% of the total rice area is found in upland regions. But in some African and Latin American countries upland rice production exceeds 50% of the total national rice area. Yields are lower in upland planted systems. If water depth is at least one meter during the growing season it is referred to deep water rice. It is common in Bangladesh and along Mekong- and the Chao Peraya Delta in Vietnam (HUKE and HUKE, 1990, 44). Table 2 shows the area and production of the different rice cultivation systems.

World Production and Export of Rice

World production of rice has risen steadily from about 200 million tones of paddy rice in 1961 to over 650 million in 2007 (see Figure 1). In 2007, the top five producers in Asia were China (28%), India (22%), Indonesia (8%), Bangladesh (6.6%) and Vietnam (5.4%). World trade figures are very different, as only 5-6% of the rice produced is traded internationally. Thailand, Vietnam and the United States are the three main rice exporting countries in the world. Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Brazil are the major importers. China and India are the two largest rice producers (see Figure 2), but they consume the majority of their produce domestically and contribute little to international trade (IRRI, 2009).

According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): "Developing countries are the main players in world rice trade, with shares of 83 percent of total exports and 85 percent of total imports. The concentration is particularly high on the export side, since five countries (Thailand, Viet Nam, China, the United States and India) supply about three-quarters of the trade. This contrasts with the fragmentation of import markets and the wide year-to-year variations in purchases made by individual countries" (FAO, 2004).

Problem Statement and Objectives

The need for technological innovation in agricultural production plays an important role to ensure not only todays but also future prospective food consumption around the world. Population growth, land scarcity and water availability and in general pressure on natural resources are just some of the challenges, of an unexhausted list, that are faced by the world community.

This paper focuses on the important steps in hybrid rice development and it assesses the impact of hybrid rice for poverty reduction-feeding country people.

History of Hybrid Rice Technology

This section provides an overview of the importance of hybrid rice, its definition, as well as its evolution during the last decades throughout the world. In addition, information about the hybrid rice inventors from China is provided and the historical path of commercialization is shown.

FAO declared 2004 as an International Year of Rice. This event reflects the importance of rice in global concerns regarding food security, poverty alleviation, preserving cultural heritage and sustainable development. For the first time an international year has been assigned to one crop. Furthermore the theme "Rice is Life" (FAO, 2004) is a sign of the importance of rice as a primary food and income source in many developing countries. Focusing on rice internationally provides an opportunity for the global community to work toward achieving the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals, which call for the reduction of poverty and hunger.

Hybrid rice

The word hybrid refers to that it can be produced by crossing two inbred, genetically fixed varieties of a particular crop. These hybrids are special, because they have heterosis or hybrid vigour. If two parents are crossed, which are genetically distant from each other, the off spring will be superior and produce higher yields. This effect is known as heterosis and it disappears after the first generation (F1). Therefore farmers can not save the seeds produced from hybrid crops. They need to purchase new F1 seeds in every planting season to make use of the heterosis effect. (Kuyek, et al 2000, 1).

Evolution of hybrid rice innovation

Hybrid rice technology emerged just 30 years ago and is therefore a relatively new field when compared to the progress of hybrid maize. Since 1980 many countries have become increasingly aware of the importance of hybrid rice to improve food security (TRAN, 2005, 57). Hybrid technology was successfully developed in China during 1964 to 1975. Today, Hybrid rice covers around 50% of the rice area (30 million ha) in China. Other countries are successively catching up. This hybrid rice technology is being developed in about 20 countries worldwide. Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and the USA are the most important countries which use this technology and in total it covers around 800,000 ha of arable land.

Hybrid rice technology enables the farmers to increase their output (rice per unit area per unit time) and it contributes to increased grain yields, farmers' income, and to rural employment opportunities through hybrid seed production. It has already contributed significantly toward improving food security and environmental protection.

Why Hybrid Rice?

Increasing attention has been given to the development of a new generation of rice varieties including hybrid rice, new plant types and transgenic rice. Especially the Chinese diversity of agricultural production has enabled the successful commercial use of hybrid rice. The need for higher yield varieties were also due to the pressure of steadily land decreases of 0.6% per year in China and also throughout the world. World rice production needs to increase, because the availability of land, water and labour are all decreasing. F1 seed multiplication and production for the hybrid rice programme is a labour intensive process. This has created rural employment opportunities and provides an income source to farmers. Hybrid rice seed production requires about 30% more labour than the seed production of other improved varieties. In some countries, hybrid rice revealed better heterosis in unfavourable climates and soil conditions, especially where irrigation options are limited. Therefore hybrid rice can perform well in adverse ecological and environmental conditions. For instance, studies in Egypt showed that hybrid rice performed well in saline conditions where farmers achieved 35% higher yields than with inbreed varieties. Hybrid rice has proven to be more suitable for scare land, large population, and cheap labour areas. Thus hybrid rice technology is very important for the food security. (FAO, 2004)

Development history of hybrid rice

Many scientists use hybridization for scientific studies and crop improvements in the breeding program. The first artificial hybrid was produced by Thomas Fairchild in 1717 by crossing the clover type Dianthus barbatus with Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation). Tobacco hybrid vigour was reported in 1760-1766. This crossing was done by the famous scientist Joseph Koelreuter. At the end of 19th century, hybridization was widely used for different crop improvement programs. Today hybridization is the most common method applied in crop improvement and breeds development. An American Scientists called George Shull at Cold Spring laboratory in 1901 is the founder for all corn grown today. Shull obtained pure bred lines of corn through self pollination. They were less vigorous and less productive. After crossing the pure bred lines, the hybrid yield were better than that any of the parents. He recognised the potential of using this strategy to improve corn yield. By the 1930s and 1940s most farms in US were growing hybrid stocks. Intensive research started in India in 1952 for the development of hybrid maize and the first type was marketed in 1960. Subsequently other hybrids were also released in the 60s. Due to the great success in hybrids of maize, pearl millet, sorghum, cotton and sun flower breeding programs researchers were encouraged to explore commercial exploitation of heterosis in rice. In the mid seventies, the first rice hybrids were developed and cultivated in China.

Rice is the main staple food in China and it contributes to about 40% of the total calorie intake of its population. During the last five decades the performance in the rice sector has been very impressive. The average rice yield in 1960 was 2t/ha and after the wide adoption of semi-dwarf varieties, this yield increased to 3.5 t/ha in 1970. But then the semi-dwarf varieties could not fulfil the demand of an increasing population in China. This lead to the exploitation of heterosis in rice as the first choice for further yield increases. Initially the self pollination character of the rice crop was the limiting factor of a successful application of rice hybridization until the first 30 years of research. The breakthrough came in 1974, when Chinese scientists successfully transferred male sterility genes from wild rice to create the cytoplasmic genetic male sterile (CMS) line and thus hybrid combinations (FAO, 2004). According to Eckardt,N.A : "Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) is a condition under which a plant is unable to produce functional pollen, is widespread among higher plants. CMS systems represent a valuable tool in the production of hybrid seed in self-pollinating crop species, including maize, rice, cotton, and a number of vegetable crops". The Cytoplasmic Male Sterility (CMS) system consists of three lines, namely CMS, Maintainer and Restorer. The CMS system's utility is restricted to the germplasms whose maintainers and restorers are abundant. (Eckardt, 2006).

The fist steps were initiated by Prof Yuan Longping in 1964. He found the natural male sterile mutant in indica rice, the first domesticated rice variety, but until then could not find its restorer line. In 1970, Li found the abortive materials of pollen in the natural population of wild rice. This wild rice is the donor of Cytoplasmic Male Sterility (CMS) to develop cytoplasmic lines. After this development China exploited the heterosis of the hybrid rice for commercial use. China successfully developed three-line hybrid rice in 1970s. Two line-hybrid rice was successfully commercialised in 1995. The extension of two-line hybrid rice was very fast in these years. The area of two-line hybrid rice was 2.6 million ha in year 2002 and this is around 18% of the total hybrid rice area in China. The final yield is also 5-10% higher than the three-line hybrid rice.

China has initiated the establishment of Super Rice varieties with the collaboration of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Ministry of Agriculture since1996. Super hybrid rice is a variety, which combines the ideal plant type through hybridization between indica and japonica to achieve super high yields. These two varieties are differ in their forms and characetristics. Japonica rice is more suitable for temperate climate and their grains are round donot easily crack or break and it becomes sticky and moist when cooked. In contrast, Indica rice is grown in hot climates and their grains are long and tend to break easily. Rice is fluffy and doesn't stick together, when cooked. Indica rice variety is commonly use in southern asian countries including India, Thailand, and Southern China for cultivation.(Gomez, 2009)

China has already developed around nine super hybrid rice varieties and they are used by farmers today. Super rice varieties outperformed in demonstration fields than that of normal conventional rice varieties under the good crop management practices. Since China was the first country, Chinese researchers have many experiences and advantages in the utilization of CMS lines with increase of grain quality, improvement in the pest and disease resistance in hybrid rice breeding programs. (CHENG et al, 2004).

The rice scientist Wang Cai-Lin from Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Nanjing described the hybrid rice development in Jiangsu province in China as a three stage process according to hybrid rice breeding and production. The first stage was from 1970 to 1980. It was known as the beginning stage. In this stage, progress was mainly made in cytoplasmic male sterile line breeding. The second stage is described as the developing stage. It is from 1980 to 1995. In this stage, first indica hybrid rice and then japonica hybrid rice was rapidly popularized. The third stage started from 1996. (See box 1 for the chronology of hybrid rice development in China) It is known as the breakthrough stage. In this stage, both indica and japonica hybrid rice breeding in three line breeding system or inter-subspecific hybrid rice breeding in the two-line system had its successful breakthrough (WANG, 2004, 219).

Box1: History of hybrid rice technological development in China

  • 1964 - Research on three-line hybrid rice initiated
  • 1970 - Wild abortive (WA) rice identified on Hainan Island in China
  • 1973 - PTGMS material identified
  • 1974 - First sets of three lines (A, B and R lines) developed for three-line system hybrid rice
  • 1976 - Hybrid rice commercialization started
  • 1977 - Systematic hybrid rice seed production technique developed
  • 1983 - Hybrid rice seed yield more than 1.2 ton/ha
  • 1987 - Hybrid rice seed yield more than 2 ton/ha

Hybrid rice acreage more than 10 million ha

National Two-line System Hybrid Rice Program established

  • 1990 - Hybrid rice acreage more than 15 million ha
  • 1995 - Two-line hybrid rice system developed
  • 1996 - "Super Rice Breeding" national program initiated
  • 1998 - Hybrid rice seed yield more than 2.5 ton/ha
  • 2000 - Super hybrid rice Phase I objective (10.5 ton/ha) achieved
  • 2004 - Super hybrid rice Phase II objective (12.0 ton/ha) achieved
  • 2006 - Super hybrid rice Phase III objective (13.5 ton/ha) initiated

Yuan Longping

Yuan Longping was born in a poor Chinese farmers' family in 1931. He graduated from the South West Agriculture Institute in 1953. He started his career as a teacher at an agricultural school in Hunan province. His idea of hybridization came up in 1960. During this time China faced a severe famine due to natural disasters and inappropriate policies. Since 1960 onwards he has devoted his life to the research and development of a better rice breed. In 1964 he found a natural hybrid rice plant with obvious advantages over others. Then he began to study the elements of this particular type. In 1973 with the cooperation of other scientists he cultivated a type of hybrid rice species which had advantages. The yield of this hybrid rice was twenty times more than that of common ones. In 1974, their research made a breakthrough in seeding. Indica rice was successfully developed by a set of technologies. This put China in the lead worldwide in rice production. For this achievement Yuan longping is known as "Father of Hybrid Rice". Hybrid rice technology was introduced into the United States in 1979. This was the first case of intellectual property rights transfer in the history of new China. At present, China's total rice fields grow as much as 50% of Yuan longping's hybrid rice species. They contribute to around 60% of the rice production in China. China's total rice output rose from 5.69 billion tons in 1950 to 19.47 billion tons in 2007 due to his hard work. About 300 billion kilogram more have been produced over the last twenty years. The annual yield is enough to feed 60 million people. Yuan Longping is working with "Super Rice" nowadays and its yield is 30% higher than the common rice.

Commercialization of hybrid rice

Commercialization of hybrid rice began in the 1970s in China. Now is has become a multibillion dollar agribusiness in the world. It created significant employment in the world today. The hybrid production amounts to 105 million tons annually at 7t/ha. Thes area other than hybrid rice are planted with high yielding varieties (HYV) and they produce 81 million annually at 5.6t/ha (YUAN, 2005). Vietnam planted about 600,000 ha of hybrid rice. Inbred varieties have an average yield of 4.5 t/ha and hybrid varieties 6.3 t/ha. In China the state owned seed industry organizes the efficient and economical hybrid seed production and distribution. IRRI plays a significant role in the commercialization of hybrid rice in tropical countries. IRRI began the hybrid rice research in 1979. Since then it has evaluated and identified many elite hybrids and created a network with various tropical countries.

Current status of hybrid rice use

Hybrid rice has a more than 10% - 20% yield advantage than the conventional rice varieties. China has increased its total rice production to a total of 400 million tons by growing 30 million ha between 1972 to year 2002. In particular, the area under hybrid rice cultivation increased from 0.14 million ha in 1976 to 15.48 million ha in year 2002. This amount is more than 50% of the total rice cultivating area. Table 3 shows the yearly planting area of hybrid rice and percentage of the total rice planting area in China during 1976 to 2002. Table 3 below gives an overview of planting area of hybrid rice and percentage of the total rice planting area in China during 1976 to 2002.

In some areas in China, farmers cultivate entirely hybrid rice varieties in a highly effective way. The Food and Agricultural organisation (FAO), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have provided strong support for the hybrid rice development in other countries than in China. 800,000 ha of hybrid rice were planted in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam in year 2001/2002. Table 4 below shows the areas of hybrid rice planted in Asian countries in 2001/2002.

Impact of hybrid rice technology on food security

This section provides an overview of the role of hybrid rice technology for food security. This section covers many practical examples and empirical studies from several countries to stand the impact of hybrid rice technology. Adoption of this technology and the factors contributing for this adoption also describe in this section.

According to Spielman and Lorch: "In the late 1950s around a billion peopleabout one-third of the world's populationwere estimated to go hungry every day. Famines were threatening millions in Asia and Africa in particular, and prospects for feeding the world's booming population looked bleak. In response to this alarming picture, scientists, policymakers, farmers, and concerned individuals initiated a concerted push to boost agricultural production and productivity in developing countries. Developing and industrialized countries, together with development agencies and civil society organizations, pursued a range of interventions in agriculture: they applied modern science to crop and livestock production, constructed irrigation systems, developed new cultivation practices to conserve natural resources, introduced policies to encourage farmers to grow and sell more food, and launched many other programs in agricultural development" (Spielman, and Lorch, 2009, 1).

The current world population is over 6 billion and it's increasing very drastically. It will reach 8 billion in the year 2030. Crop land is decreasing due to the high population growth to fulfil the human needs. Land loss for other use annually in the world is 10 to 30 million ha. Half of it comes from the crop land loss. Severe population growth and loss of crop land are the main problems in the world nowadays. From the advanced science and technology research can increase the crop yield per unit of land area to solve the drastic population growth and crop land reduction problems.(Yuan, 2004)

According to Cantrell:"There is not enough land, water, or money to produce all the rice the world's growing population needs, The challenge for the plant research community, he adds, is to develop efficient and freely available ways to tap into the rice genome sequence to produce higher yielding, more nutritious, and more resistant rice".( CANTRELL,2002).

Rice is the main food crop and it feeds more than half of the world population. The estimates say, the world has to produce 60% more rice in the year 2030 than compared to 1995 (Yuan, 2005). According to Roy and Misra: "The need for such an increase is reflected in efforts to: increase the acreage under high-yielding varieties (HYV); develop hybrids and super rice; evolve more appropriate and efficient crop, soil, water and nutrient management technologies; and accelerate technology transfer" (ROY and MISRA, 2002).

Therefore increased production of rice plays a vital role in poverty alleviation and food security. Building of irrigation works, improvement of soil conditions, cultural techniques and breeding of high yielding varieties are some of the good ways of increasing the potential yield of rice. The development of hybrid rice is the most efficient and economical way to increase the production of rice. China has lots of experience in this regard.

It has been proved practically for many years that hybrid rice has more than 20% yield advantage over improved inbred varieties The average yield of the hybrid rice in China is 7t/ha and it is 1.4t/ha higher than for the inbred varieties. Therefore hybrid rice is playing a critical role in China's food self sufficiency.

China progresses in development of hybrid rice technology. China successfully developed three-line hybrid rice in 1970s. Two line-hybrid rice was successfully commercialised in 1995. The extension of two-line hybrid rice was very fast in these years. The area of two-line hybrid rice was 2.6 million ha in year 2002 and this is around 18% of the total hybrid rice area in China. The final yield is also 5-10% higher than the three-line hybrid rice.

According to Chen: "The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has listed Chinese hybrid rice as the most important technology for combating food insecurity in developing countries, especially low-income and food-deficit countries" (CHEN,2007, 1591).

China has achieved good results in developing super hybrid rice varieties since the initiation of the super rice research program in 1996. Super hybrids have over 20% yield advantage than the three-line hybrids on a commercial scale. Super hybrid varieties were planted on 240,000 ha and the average yield was 9.6t/ha in the year 2000. In 2002, the area cultivated by super hybrid rice has increased to 1.4 million ha with the average yield of 9.1t/ha. In addition, a two-line super hybrid P64S/E32 and three-line super hybrid 11-32A/Ming 86 created a record yield of 17.1 t/ha in 1999 and 17.95 t/ha in 2001 respectively (YUAN, 2005).

The grain quality of super hybrid rice varieties is very good. Nowadays scientist and breeders have made good progress in developing second generation super hybrid rice. The yield of this rice is 12 t/ha. Researchers did some experimental fields, 7 ha each in 5 locations, in Hunan Province in China in 2003 with this second generation super hybrid rice and they achieved average yields of 12 t/ha. Therefore super hybrid rice shows a significant improvement. If this rice variety covers an annual area of 13 million ha in China and calculating by a yield increase of 2.25 t/ha, one can expect that the annual increase in rice production will reach 30 million tons. This is enough to feed more than 75 million people every year.

According to Barclay: "One of the reasons for China's recent food security success is its impressively high rice yields. In the midst of much hunger and starvation in the 1960s, it was clear the country needed to boost its agricultural output. Now, at an average of more than 6 tons per hectare, China's yield are higher than most of its neighbouring countries. There are many reasons for this, but one in particular is the way that the country has not only embraces hybrid rice but also become the world leader in its research and development" (Barclay, 2007).

Hybrid rice has proven to be a very effective approach to greatly increase yields not only in China, but also outside China. India and Vietnam already commercialised their hybrid rice production. In 2003, around 600,000 ha were covered with hybrid rice in Vietnam. In Vietnam the inbred rice yield is 4.5 t/ha and it's much lower than the yield of hybrid rice, which is 6.3 t/ha. Vietnam is the second largest rice exporter in Asia because of the planting of hybrid rice in a large scale commercial production. India is cultivating around 200,000 ha of hybrid rice in year 2001. Other countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ecuador and the USA have also achieved good progress in hybrid rice technology. Recent researches conducted in these countries revealed that hybrid rice yields are higher than the local inbred varieties.

For example, in the Philippines, FAO, IRRI and China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center helped to commercialised the hybrid rice in year 2002. A super hybrid rice variety called SL-8 has been developed by Prof Yuan Longping's assistant in the Philippines. This SL-8 super hybrid rice was planted on about 3000 ha in 2003. The average yield of this hybrid rice has 8.5 t/ha. This is more than double the countries average yield. After this achievement the Philippines government made a plan to plant 3 million ha of hybrid rice by 2007. This example clearly indicates that hybrid rice technology developed by China is also effective to greatly increase rice yield worldwide (Cantrell, 2002).

The success in the development of hybrid rice technology and its use are mainly depended on the dissemination by seed industries and extension workers and the policy and financial support by national and local governments

Hybrid rice technology provides farmers with high yield, and this sector will provide rural employment opportunities to the poorest of the poor people in rural areas. This hybrid rice technology is quite new and many countries have shown their interest to take part in activities to ensure the food security in their countries. A study done by FAO showed that, dissemination of this hybrid rice technology needs strong support and commitment from governments and scientists, cooperation among research programmes, seed productions and extension services and international collaborations and coordination. (FAO, 2004)

Tran and Nguyen from Hanoi University of Agriculture, Vietnam did a study on economic impact assessment of hybrid rice in Vietnam. They considered the impact in national and farm levels. Production of F1 seeds creates more employment opportunities especially to women and old people in rural areas of Vietnam. According to their survey in 2008, the hybrid rice production creates additional 100 workdays/ha in Vietnam that of comparing with inbred rice varieties. During the year 1992-2006 the overall paddy yield of the country increased from 3.36t/ha to 4.89t/ha. This is due to the influence of the hybrid rice variety. This is a good example for hybrid rice which contributes to higher overall paddy yield of the country. With higher yield and expanding area of hybrids, total paddy output of the country has been at higher level as compared with case of no hybrids. Hybrid rice brought an additional quantity of paddy annually during the period 1996-2002. This is 2% higher than the situation with out hybrid rice in the country. Gains in total output contributes to higher level of food security, as it makes higher quantity of rice supply, hence quantity of rice available for human consumption. Table below shows Impact of hybrids to total paddy output and food security. The figures are average figures from year 1996-2002

Further in this study, they surveyed farmers in Red River Delta who cultivate both hybrid and non hybrid rice varieties. The results revealed that hybrid rice consumed nitrogen much more than inbred and farmers spent more on chemical fertilizers for hybrids than for inbreds with the difference being about 30 kg /ha. According to Tran et al (2008): "if one ha of inbred is replaced, total estimated increase in income is 27.82USD and 15.27 USD in spring and summer seasons respectively. It is likely that the positive impact of hybrids on farm household's income is insignificant" (TRAN et al, 2008). This income will lead the farmer to attain food security.

According to this study hybrid rice cultivation has an impact on the household and national level to attain the food security.

Adoption of Hybrid Rice technology

In many Asian countries the adoption of a new variety or hybrid in a market economy is basically an economic decision of the farmers. This was empirically proved by many economists. The decision to reallocate the land from existing high yielding variety (HYV) depends on the crop's product value and farm operating surplus.

Profit is the most important incentive in the adoption of any new variety or hybrid to farmers. A new technology in crop production can generate additional profit margins over the existing technology through three basic means.

First, there are increases in the land productivity at given resource and output price. It can be applied when the new introduced technology has the higher base level land productivity compared to existing technologies. Second, relative profit margins of the product can be achieved through quality improvements via deployment of new technology with the same or even lower land productivity at given resource level. Here adoption of new technology for commercial farmers depends on product quality. The third means through which relative profitability can be enhanced is the adoption of new, low cost technology with or without additional land productivity at a given product value. Here the increase in the farm level profitability by means of less input-intensive and low cost new technology under irrigated environment (JANAIAH, 2002).

A research study conducted in India, Vietnam and Bangladesh in 1997 to 1998 by Janaiah and his team, examined relative profitability of cultivating hybrid rice over the existing high yielding variety (HYV) by taking into account all three above mentioned factors. In this research, they used yield advantages, market price and total cost as the factors to determine the relative profitability of hybrid rice production over existing high yielding varieties. The study revealed that in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, hybrid rice yields were higher by 15-20% than the existing HYV. But this yield gains of hybrid rice required increased level of key inputs. This study further revealed that the cost of hybrid rice seed is 3-4 times higher than the conventional HYV in India and Bangladesh. But in Vietnam it is only 2 times higher. The seed rate (Kg/ha) for hybrid rice is about one-third of that of conventional HYVs. Farmers have to purchase the hybrid seed for every crop season, but in conventional practice for HYV farmers can use some of their own crop harvest for the next season. Labor use is also higher for hybrid rice. In Vietnam the input value of family and hired labor was much higher for hybrid rice. The majority of the rice farmers grew hybrid rice on small plots and they used their own family labor. Hybrid rice has poor resistance to major pests and diseases. Therefore Pesticide use was relatively high for hybrid rice. Researchers in China reported in 1998, that hybrid is more susceptible to stem borer, white plant hopper, leaf roller, bacterial blight, sheath blight and virus diseases than on inbred rice. They also found outbreak of diseases such as Downey mildew, false smut and kernel smut to occur frequently on hybrid rice. This was the reason hybrid rice farmers had to use more pesticides. Hybrid rice requires 31% more pesticides and 43% more fertilizer. Due to this the total cost increase was about 16-23% for hybrid rice (KUYEK, 2000, 5).

There are many challenges in the hybrid rice production and adoption. Hybrid seeds are expensive and new seeds have to be used every season. Shortages of seeds have an implication on the rice industry. Disease could be transmitted through seeds. So it's better to produce seeds locally and discourage the imports (KHENG, 2007)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Hanoi, Vietnam, jointly organized a Workshop on "Policy Support for Rapid Adoption of Hybrid Rice on Large-scale Production in Asia". Senior policy-makers and senior rice scientists from many countries, politicians, rice farmers, NGOs participated in this workshop. Well defined polices, sufficient funding for the research and development, seed production, proper extension facilities to hybrid rice farmers are most important conclusions and recommendations from that workshop.

Hybrid rice development programmes in member countries should be implemented in a "mission mode" approach. This calls for simultaneous mobilization and involvement of all stakeholders. Member countries should have an effective mechanism to coordinate all aspects of hybrid rice development and these countries should identify the major target areas for hybrid rice cultivation and seed production in order to define their strategies/plan of actions clearly, including intensive training. Countries should develop short-term and long-term programmes with clear, specific and achievable goals. Positive environment (including incentives) should provide to public, private and non-governmental organization seed companies involved in the development and marketing of hybrid rice technology. Genetic purity of the seeds are the most important criteria for the quality of seeds. It is advisable that hybrid rice producing countries should implement strict seed certification standards for hybrid rice. At last workshop participants agreed that the continued commitment of international agencies, such as IRRI, FAO are fundamental for the rapid development and large-scale adoption of hybrid rice technology.

Potential demand for hybrid rice deployment

Research and development of hybrid rice were aimed at breaking the yield limits in the favorable irrigated environment. In this irrigated environment rice production is commercialized and yielding a marketable surplus. Experiences from China suggested that, higher proportion of irrigated area and high population density are the two main criteria for a country to have more potential demand for hybrid rice adoption. Lin did assessments in some Asian countries like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Irrigation and labor are the two key factors considered in this assessment.

Janaiah and Hossain (2002) from Social Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines considered the critical evaluation of the Chinese success and the recent farmers' experiences with hybrid rice adoption outside China and they suggested five important factors that would stimulate the potential demand for hybrid rice adoption in any country where market forces operates freely.

Irrigation is the first crucial input for hybrid rice cultivation. Second, it must be determine purpose of rice farming whether it is commercial or subsistence farming. Due to the lower market price, commercial farmers in irrigated systems are not much attracted to currently available hybrid rice. In Bangladesh and Vietnam, small and marginal farmers who produced rice mainly for household consumption were interested in hybrid rice. But the unsuitability of hybrid rice grain for home consumption through its inferior quality would also constrain its adoption by small and marginal farmers. Availability of labor is the third important factor in hybrid rice adoption. A labor intensive technology will have a less chance of success in irrigated environment where labor becomes a constraint. Wage rates are increasing at a faster rate than paddy price. Due to this, farmers go for non-farm employment. Higher wage rate associated with lower paddy price will create low profitability and increase the cost of seed production of hybrid rice. The ratio of farm wages to paddy price is the forth factor. This is inversely associated with the adoption rate of labor-intensive technology. Method of crop establishment is also another crucial factor. This will decide the seed rate (Kg/ha). Seed rate is much higher for direct seeding than for transplanting rice. The costs of hybrid rice seed is about 10-15% times higher than high yielding varieties. Direct seeding method will contribute to the lack of success of hybrid rice technology.


Hybrid rice technology is one of the most important contributions of China to the world population and to global food security. Development and dissemination of hybrid rice varieties may be one of the major options to meet the growing demand for stable food in the world. Spreading of hybrid rice will benefit to human beings, promoting international economic society development as well as driving the advance human civilization. Findings revealed that hybrid rice cultivation at farm level was substantially increasing with the production and distribution of hybrid rice seeds. The relative profitability of hybrid rice over inbred cultivation showed that hybrid rice varieties gave both higher yield and net return, which would influence the rice farms to grow more hybrid rice in near future.

Governments should provide critical support to the hybrid rice programs through funding and policies. Government policies, standards, and investments in human resources and necessary infrastructure made hybrid rice attractive, profitable, and sustainable. To ensure the continued success of the hybrid rice program, further advances in biotechnology, reduce problems of climate change will be crucial for overcoming the challenges from increasing water supply and reduce more severe drought from global warming. Further diffusion will benefit breeding more different hybrid rice varieties could increase the biodiversity of rice field. Breeding of more variety brings up more biodiversity and also more culturally and biologically adopted variety among with farmers choice. By strengthening the cooperation and communication of each and every country, development of hybrid rice adoption at a faster speed and on a wider scale will benefit the whole world.


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