Hybrid rice varieties exploit the phenomenon of heterosis to out-yield their inbred counterpart to increase productivity per unit area. Unlike inbred rice varieties whose seeds could be used for replanting season after season, farmers will have to purchase seeds of hybrids every season to obtain the expected yield and other quality attributes. While the hybrid system is a disadvantage to farmers in terms of mandatory seed purchase, it serves as a motivation and opportunity for private seed companies to recoup their investment and therefore encourages their involvement in seed production research and development. Hybrid rice technology originated from China and is well commercialized in Asia and the Americas. Africa is among the few places where hybrid rice is still not fully commercialized. Besides Egypt, many African countries have just begun to exploit the benefits of hybrid rice technology. A number of introduced hybrids have exhibited a 15–20% yield advantage over the available top inbred varieties. Most African countries also have a conducive environment for viable hybrid rice seed production. Besides other pertinent challenges, some which can be addressed technically, there should be a recommended production package that will give farmers the best of yield to enable hybrid rice contribute to attaining rice self-sufficiency in Africa.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Rice Research