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Biotech needed to produce enough rice in future, institute says

Genetic engineering may be the only viable way to produce sufficient quantities of rice in the future as drought, climate change and dwindling acreage affect yields, according to the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute. The main challenge facing rice producers is raising yields as 70% of the world's food-growing areas turn increasingly parched, IRRI says in its quarterly magazine, Rice Today. Former IRRI Director-General Nyle Brady says the institute must use biotechnology to “develop rice lines that efficiently utilize plant nutrients, that tolerate adverse conditions such as drought, and that are resistant to insects and diseases” to reduce the need for pesticides. Acknowledging resistance to biotech crops, he says “the developing countries need the improved crops much more than we do in the United States.”

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