Goals of the C4 Rice Project

Over 3 billion people depend on rice for survival. Due to predicted population increases and a general trend towards urbanization, land that currently provides enough rice to feed 27 people will need to support 43 by 2050. In this context, rice yields need to increase by 50% over the next 35 years. Given that traditional breeding programs have hit a yield barrier, the world (South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in particular) is facing an unprecedented level of food shortages. Introduction of ‘C4‘ traits into rice is predicted to increase photosynthetic efficiency by 50%, improve nitrogen use efficiency and double water use efficiency. The project therefore represents one of the most plausible approaches to enhancing crop yield and increasing resilience in the face of reduced land area, decreased use of fertilizers and less predictable supplies of water.