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GENEVA: New strains of rice developed in the Philippines are capable of yields that are little short of spectacular and represent a breakthrough in the struggle to produce more food for growing population, Mr A.H. Boerma, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said yesterday [July 9].

He linked this event to an expected 6 per cent rise in the 1967 harvest for the developing countries of the world and a 13 per cent rise for the world harvest as a whole. Mr Boerma said the 1967 harvest showed the largest year-to-year increase for a very long time.

The Dutch-born FAO chief was addressing the United Nations Economic and Social Council at an annual meeting of the UN specialised agencies.

Filipino rice breakthrough and a new wheat seed development in Mexico represent the fruit of 20 years’ human and technical agricultural progress, Mr Boerma said. He added that farmers in developing countries, traditionally resistant to change, have accepted the new varieties enthusiastically.

Although this whole new agricultural development was promising and exciting, Mr Boerma warned that huge new human and financial efforts were needed to realise the full potential of the new cereals. — Agency

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018