Rice row

thai jasmine rice could soon suffer a similar fate as that of Indian basmati . The us is developing a new strain of the aromatic rice that is indigenous to Thailand.

Under the research project, Chris Deren of the University of Florida, is altering original jasmine rice using gamma rays. The new variety would be a semi-dwarf one, and will flower early so that it can be harvested before the onset of winter. At present, Thai jasmine rice fetches a premium price in the us.

If the us is successful in its efforts, several Thai farmers who export this rice could lose their means of livelihood. FoodFirst Information and Action Network (fian), an international human rights organisation, is demanding a guarantee from the us department of agriculture (usda) that it will not seek a patent on the new strain of jasmine rice. The usda is funding the research.

"Although Deren has promised not to apply for patents by himself, somebody else will probably do so,' fears Karsten Wolff from the