Given that high quality aromatic rice generally fetches high prices in certain markets and increases the competitiveness of local rice versus imported rice, the development of premium-quality rice – non-chalky, translucent, slender and aromatic – is an important rice breeding priority for AfricaRice and its partners.
A breeding program was undertaken to transfer the aroma, taste and long‐grain characteristics to the most popular varieties in the region. The aim was to identify or create quality varieties with high agronomic performance. Donors for quality include the Basmati series (Pusa Basmati, Basmati 370), WAB 638‐1, which was released as “Akadi” in Côte d’Ivoire, Gambiaka (popular in some parts of West Africa) and FKR 16.
AfricaRice developed the high-quality aromatic series called ‘ORYLUX’, which comprises ORYLUX 1 to 6). These were derived by crossing WITA 1 with Pusa Basmati. The ORYLUX series have excellent grain size and aroma and are early-maturing. ORYLUX 1 and 5 have been adopted in Togo and are much in demand in Uganda.
The most popular of the ORYLUX series in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Senegal, Togo, etc.) is the ORYLUX 6. It is highly appreciated for its aroma, excellent grain quality and taste and has high market potential.
With maturity of about 100 days and yields of 6.5 t/ha under rainfed lowland (with potentially higher yields in the irrigated ecology), ORYLUX 6 offers the possibility of double cropping. It is a variety that is fairly tolerant to prevailing diseases like blast.