Cuban Scientists Improving Quality of Rice Crops

Cuban Scientists Improving Quality of Rice CropsHavana, Mar 14. -More than 70 percent of rice crops in Cuba are planted with varieties obtained in the Rice Research Station of Los Palacios, in the westernly province of Pinar del Rio, where the scientific work focuses on genetic improvement.

Elizabeth Cristo, an associate researcher in charge of that program at the center, which is attached to the National Agricultural Sciences Institute, said the seeds mainly used are INCA LP-5, obtained by grafting, and INCA LP-7, produced through biotechnological procedures.

"By using traditional irrigation methods, by mutations and through biotechnological procedures, the station, founded in 1973, has generated 18 varieties of rice, 12 of which are registered in the Ministry of Agriculture," she pointed out.

Rice workers in Cuba, including farmers and scientists, are coping with the challenge of reducing food imports. Cuba imports 389,000 tons of rice every year, according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The Cuban government is pushing ahead a policy to make the island food self-sufficient, or at least reduce the food imports to a minimum level. (Prensa Latina)