CHAPTER ONE I NTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study Rice is regarded as one of the most important cereal grains in many regions of the world and reported to be the most cultivated crop and consumed for more than 10,000 years ago all over the world (World Bank 2001). Total land area under rice cultivation globally was estimated at 150,000,000 hectares with annual mean production of 500,000,000 metric tons that represents 29% of the total output of grain crops worldwide (Tsuboi, 2004, Kuangdi and Guofang, 2003). Surveys conducted in 2009 by the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and the National Agricultural Statistical Services (NASS) in 21 Sub-Saharan African countries discovered that land area under NERICA rice production was 140,000 hectares in Guinea and 244,000 hectares in Nigeria. Diagne et al. (2006) and Adegbolaet al. (2006) estimated that the total land area under NERICA rice cultivation was 51,000 hectares in Guinea in 2004 and 5,000 hectares in Benin in 2003. The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) of Nigeria reported 186,000 hectares under NERICA 1 cultivation in Nigeria in 2007. The Uganda National Agricultural Research Institute, cited from the Statistics Office in the country‟s Ministry of Agriculture that 35,000 hectares under NERICA 4. Before NERICA rice biotechnology research program was set up in 1991, rice was the staple food crops for more than half of the world‟s population, and some 240 million people in West Africa were dependent on rice as their primary source of food energy and protein (Kijima, et al, 2008).