Eat it? Then grow it, IRRI tells young Singaporeans
Via the very active, carefully eclectic and tastefully humorous Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog comes this curiosity on IRRI, the International Rice Research Institute, which says that Singapore students will soon have the chance to learn one of the most fundamental and important aspects of living in Asia – how to grow rice.
This activity is being organized by the Science Centre Singapore (SCS) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The aim is to teach young Singaporeans about rice and how it is grown, especially the environmental cost of producing a bowl of rice.
“Rice is the single most important, best known, and most loved food staple in Singapore and across Asia,” says Duncan Macintosh, executive director of the IRRI Fund Singapore. “Even though we eat it every day, most Singapore students know little about rice and the challenge of growing it. We hope to change that by letting them grow their own rice. In the process, we also want them to learn – and get excited about – the biological sciences.”
The IRRI Fund Singapore is working with SCS to prepare and distribute 10,000 small packets of rice seed to students, with more being provided in subsequent years. They will then be taught how to sow, germinate, and take care of the rice in pots, while avoiding the use of standing water, either at school or at home. Each 5-gram packet will contain about 150 seeds, with an average germination rate of about 80 percent, easily guaranteeing at least one plant per packet, and likely many more.