At a time when rice prices are hitting record highs, causing unprecedented tension in parts of the world, research scientists at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge are hoping their cutting edge projects will lead to the production of a new breed of rice seeds resilient to climate change.



Rice is the staple food for more than two billion people, but disease and lack of water limits its production across the developing world. There is an urgent need for new breeds of rice that can cope with changing climatic conditions and improve food security.



Media reports are constantly highlighting the critical impact of rising food prices, which recently led to two days of riots in Haiti when four people were killed. Food prices have risen 40 percent on average since the middle of last year, causing further rioting in other parts of the world too, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Egypt. Governments around the world are placing this crucial issue high on their agenda, recognizing the urgent need to provide stable and sustainable food crops.



NIAB has forged a strong working partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the oldest and largest international agricultural research institute in Asia.



Chief Executive Professor Wayne Powell hopes their innovative collaborative project will contribute to a reduction in poverty and hunger in developing countries and help ensure environmentally sustainable rice production. Their scientists are also working on a major collaborative pan-European research project to help improve rice crops in the Mediterranean where it forms the national dish in some countries, ie paella in Spain and risotto in Italy.



NIAB's pioneering scientists were recently awarded a