Temasek Rice Tackles Growing Agricultural Challenges
- Benefits small-scale farming communities and reduce environmental impact with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method
- Overcomes climate change and environmental challenges with desirable agronomics traits
20 November 2019, Singapore – Temasek Rice is specially cultivated using a revolutionary method called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) that reduces environmental impact and help small-scale farmers achieve a better livelihood for their families. The rice is imbued with traits that can withstand extreme weather conditions and confer resilience towards fungal and bacterial attacks.
System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method
Rice is one of the food crops with high water consumption per kg due to flooding of the paddy fields during the production stage. It is susceptible to dry spells, which reduces productivity. When roots are submerged in water with the absence of oxygen, methane gas is released into the atmosphere. The risk of water borne diseases, such as malaria, spreads quickly. It is common for small-scale farming communities to share one hectare of land among five families.
With the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method, water usage is reduced by 50% when a single young seedling is planted in a field, unflooded with water. It also decreases seedlings usage by 90%.
Furthermore, rice farmers use organic compost to make soil soft, aerated and fertile. Gathered from biodegradable materials in their backyards, waste is minimised. This reduces pollution and mitigates climate change.
Emily Sutanto, Social Entrepreneur at Sunria, Indonesia’s first organic and fair-trade rice producer and exporter, says, “Farmers are no longer undervalued raw materials suppliers. They are producers of high-quality food products, like Temasek Rice.”
Mahmud Syah Khoruddin, Sunria farmer from Wonogiri, Java, Indonesia, adds, “It is uncommon for rice farmers to afford university education for their children. With 50% more grains, I can assure a better livelihood for their future.” He has been planting rice for over a decade.
Sustainable food production
As rice farmers face growing agricultural problems due to climate change and global warming, rice supplies are threatened by intense droughts, extended monsoon seasons, changes in heat, humidity, soil fertility and pests.
Created through the use of genomic and marker-assisted breeding technology, Temasek Rice resists challenging weather conditions. 100% natural, it is a hardy breed that “hibernates” in floods and droughts. With shorter rice stalks, it is sturdier and less likely to topple from strong winds.
On average, Temasek Rice produces nearly four times more rice grains per hectare of paddy field than normal breeds of rice. With large quantities of good quality grains now available, it can be sold for higher prices. This benefits small-scale farming communities in Asia, where farmers work hard for a low income.
Across Asia, growing populations also seek highly nutritious, fresh and safe food options. An aromatic rice with an excellent bite, Temasek Rice is softer and tastier than most brown rice varieties. More importantly, it provides a stable food supply.
Peter Chia, Chief Executive Officer at TLA says, “Temasek Rice is part of a library of rice varieties we have to help meet the growing aspirations of the Asian region for food security. More importantly, we are seeing that with better genetics, we can help smallscale farmers achieve a better livelihood for their families. We are also in turn, learning from our partners, their strong interest in sustainable farming. We hope to extend such partnerships across Asia to build a strong community and change how food is produced using science to improve our environment, communities and enterprises.”
Recent contributions towards sustainability
In May 2019, Temasek Rice was granted Plant Varieties Protection (PVP) by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). This gives breeders up to 25 years of exclusive control over the production, reproduction, sale, import and export of Temasek Rice. TLA can better protect its innovative rice variety, find partners with greater confidence, and potentially enter over 70 overseas markets, including China, the US and Vietnam.
In Aug 2017, the lead scientist of Temasek Rice, Dr Yin Zhong Chao was conferred the Outstanding Rice Scientist of Singapore at 2017 ASEAN Rice Scientist of Singapore at 2017 ASEAN Rice Science & Technology Award.
In 2016, Temasek Rice was one of the seven varieties of rice sent by Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory to the “Doomsday Vault”, a Norwegian seed vault whose sole purpose is to preserve samples of the world’s crops, in case of a global catastrophe.
About Temasek Lifesciences Accelerator Pte Ltd (TLA)
Established in 2016, Temasek Lifesciences Accelerator Pte Ltd (TLA) is the first private Singapore-based biotech and agri-tech incubator that aims to nurture and grow disruptive life science innovations into early stage companies with the vision of becoming tomorrow’s champion.
A joint venture between Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) and Vertex Holdings (VH), TLA’s distinctive differentiation lies in its unique sectoral focus in Agri-Food Technology, Industrial & Synthetic Biology, as well as Human & Veterinary Sciences.
With the aim to incubate, nurture and grow life sciences innovations into early stage companies within its go-to life sciences incubator, TLA has the scientific infrastructure for rapid test-bedding, pre-seed, seed and series A funding, as well as experienced mentors to help startups succeed in Asia. For more information, please visit www.tla.com.sg.