The Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation & Scientific Literacy
Developing a new generation of staple food crops through genetic innovations, education, and partnerships
Photo Credits: Gene Hettel, IRRI
One of the greatest challenges of our time is to feed the growing population without further destroying the environment. Because most of the world’s farmland is already under cultivation and fresh water is scarce, increased food production must largely take place more efficiently. To produce a successful crop each year, farmers must employ strategies to combat pests, diseases and environmental stresses, which reduce global yields by 30-60% each year.
The Ronald lab for crop genetics innovation carries out research to accelerate the development of staple food crops that are resistant to disease and tolerant of environmental stress, establishes partnerships to improve food security for the poorest farmers, and communicates the results of scientific research to the public.
“When I was in India in March I met with about 20 rice farmers who had recently switched to a new rice seed called Swarna-Sub1, which is both very productive and can survive in flooded fields. Their rice fields get flooded every three to four years, and in past flood years they ended up with almost no food to eat. Now, these farmers can feed their families no matter the weather. Currently, 4 million tons of rice is lost to flooding every year in Bangladesh and India. But as farmers in the region adopt Swarna-Sub1, they will grow enough extra rice to feed 30 million people.”
Bill Gates, Annual Letter 2012