UniPort Scientist Releases New Rice Variety

By Obinna Nwodiim

A new rice variety known as UPIA has been released to the public by the University of Port Harcourt. The new variety was developed in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRA) and the AGRA with Dr. Andrew Efisue of the Department of Crop and Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, as the Programme Coordinator and Team Leader.

UPIA is an acronym for University of Port Harcourt, International Rice Research Institute and AGRA.

Speaking with UniPort Weekly on the development, Dr Efisue disclosed that the seedlings, which were released last December, have a 38% yield advantage over the local variety. According to him, the varieties are distinctive, uniform and stable across all tested environments, with long grains of grade A, high yielding and resistance to some economic abiotic stresses such as iron toxicity and drought.

He said that “the release of these rice varieties will accelerate rice production and income generation to resource-poor farmers in Nigeria,” stressing that “the UPIA varieties are of high cooking quality of medium to high amylase content that meets the consumers' preferences in Nigeria.”

The Plant Breeder and Geneticist said that it also possesses good agronomic traits such as resistance to lodging, early and medium maturity period and acceptable height, pointing out that it took six years of intensive research work to develop, register and release the varieties.

Dr. Efisue, who expressed delight over the development, said that the next stage is its dissemination to the consuming public. “We are doing this in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian seed companies and the farmers themselves. In the international circle, the International Network for Rice Genetics in Africa, Rice Centre, Cotonou, Benin Republic, is also putting it in the Africa Rice Breeding Task Force for evaluation in all other African countries,” a visibly elated Dr Efisue told our Correspondent.

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