New rice variety for Africa to save wetlands in Uganda

| May 18, 2015

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This week’s story from Uganda focuses on growing rice in swamplands around villages in the northern part of the country. Our script of the week offers another Ugandan perspective on rice.

In Uganda (and in some other countries), rice is quickly replacing traditional crops as the food of choice. There is a concern that, as the demand for rice grows, so will the impact on local wetlands. Draining wetlands to grow rice can destroy local biodiversity and have negative impacts on water management and soil quality. It also produces greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. In northern Uganda, the advantages of using swampland to grow rice may outweigh these negative effects, but in other parts of the country, there could be serious concerns.

Our script of the week presents one solution to this problem. A local initiative in Uganda is ensuring that rice lovers can have their delicacy without destroying the environment. In the script—first published in 2008—we speak to experts who were developing a new upland rice variety called the New Rice for Africa or NERICA.