Why rice matters to us

We are working hard so that rice farmers can help feed the ever increasing number of people living on this planet. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in Asia and rice is a key element in their diet.
Why rice matters to us
It’s our mission to protect this crop and enable farmers to increase rice production at a rate of eight to ten million tons every year to keep up with the population growth.

In China, Bangladesh and Thailand, a common daily greeting is 'Have you eaten rice today?' We want to make it part of our commitment to ensure that the answer to this question is always ‘Yes’.

Rice's role in the economy

Global rice production
The crop is grown mainly on irrigated fields in Asia.
Smallholder farmers are the backbone of the world’s rice production. For them, rice is both food and livelihood. This means that if we want to do something about poverty, we need to focus on rice, to increase rice yields and to improve the farmers' economic situation.

Around 11 per cent of available agricultural land is needed to grow rice. That's more than 150 million hectares worldwide. Of the crops grown for human consumption, only wheat accounts for a larger area of land use. However, no other staple crop offers a more distinct and diverse food quality than rice.

Problems farmers face

Sixty million people won’t go hungry if we are able to eradicate the rice blast fungus. This dreaded disease causes the most damage to rice producers worldwide.

Rice farmers also fear the brown planthopper and the rice stem borer. This is why, in 2008, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners launched a project dedicated to controlling the planthopper pest more effectively.

Along with other experts, we believe that we could double the global rice harvest by simply reducing the impact of pests, diseases and weeds. There are more than 100 known insect pests, fungal diseases and weeds that can cause significant damage to rice plants. In some cases, the entire harvest can be lost. The harvest that does survive also needs protection – which is why adequate storage is becoming more and more important.

Water shortages at the critical growth stages of a rice plant add to the challenges. Over 3,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of rice – that is around 120 full bathtubs. Rice production thrives on consistent water supplies and is challenged by both too little or too much. Climate experts predict that the climate change will make conditions more difficult for some rice-growing areas in the foreseeable future.
Rice
(From left to right) Symptoms of rice sheat blight, Symptoms of rice sheat blight, Bakanae disease on rice leaves.

Answers we offer

Answer we offer
Grains of rice
A rice plant is a miracle of nature. It can produce up to 3,000 grains and can be harvested up to three times a year – provided it is properly protected.

We know how to do this, because we are one of the world’s leaders in rice solutions. We offer a unique portfolio combining hybrid rice seeds and complete crop protection solutions. We are a world leader in the development of hybrid rice seed varieties: our Arize™ hybrids regularly out-yield in-bred varieties by 30 per cent. We continue to broaden our hybrid rice portfolio to better address the challenges in agriculture and the growing demands of rice consumers globally. We are also developing hybrid rice varieties that are better able to withstand diseases, sucking insect pests, prolonged submergence or high salt-water conditions.

We focus on alternative mechanisms of action. Routine™ is one example. This fungicide can be used to control two major rice diseases – rice blast and bacterial leaf blight. For broad spectrum disease control our integrated offers include the core brands Nativo™, Antracol™ and Folicur™.

In their fight against weeds, rice farmers use Innova™, another novel product from our laboratories and several well-established herbicides like Ronstar™, Ricestar™ and TillerGold™. New herbicide solutions are currently in development. Admire™, Curbix™ and Fame™ are three of our most important insecticides for rice. With our seed treatment solutions Gaucho™ and Routine™ Start we help the farmer to produce healthy rice seedlings giving the plant a better start for higher crop efficiency.

We are also a world leader in rice seed with our Arize™ product family. We can offer farmers great value with a combination of our seeds, crop protection, services and application technologies.

New technologies for the field

An impressive 110,000 different varieties of rice can be found in the gene bank at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). As a close partner of this institute, we’re working together to expand its database and provide the impetus for breeding new, high-yielding rice varieties.

In 2010, we launched the Bayer Tabela Rice Project in Indonesia. It involves farmers sowing pre-germinated rice directly into the paddy soil. Compared with conventional cultivation methods, this uses 20 per cent less water, increases yields by 10 per cent and reduces the emission of the greenhouse gas methane by up to 30 per cent.

Similarly, our “Much More Rice” program in Vietnam is designed to improve rice yields and quality and, at the same time, promote sustainable agriculture. Here, we are partnering farmers with public and state institutions and plan to expand the project into other countries.

Our rice research laboratory in Singapore uses cutting-edge productivity-enhancing technologies to develop new, high-yielding and high-quality varieties and hybrids specifically for the Asia-Pacific region. The laboratory is part of a global network with further sites in the United States, Brazil and Belgium.
Rice
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Food for the world

IRRI
International Rice Research Institute
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