The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research–Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) has developed an improved smart-rice varieties using biotechnological tools.
Dr. Maxwell Asante, Principal Research Scientist and Rice Breeder at CSIR-CRI, in his assessment, said the improved rice varieties are disease and pest resistant and have a short maturity period of 90 to 100 days.
According to the Principal Research Scientist and Rice Breeder at CSIR-CRI, over the years, rice production has been a major challenge to farmers due to the difficulties they face in acquiring suitable land and the maturity period for rice.
Dr. Asante noted that the improved rice varieties could grow on multiple lands unlike the ordinary varieties, which could only grow in lowland areas. He showed that the new improved rice varieties could be cultivated on highlands to encourage more farmers to venture into rice cultivation.
Dr. Asante advised farmers to adopt the new improved rice varieties to enhance their production for local consumption to reduce the importation of rice into the country.
The Principal Research Scientist iterated that the new rice varieties can withstand conditions forecast to become more frequent and intense with climate change. This includes drought, flood, heat, cold, and soil problems like high salt and iron toxicity.
Meanwhile, environmental stresses constrain rice production, affecting thousands of farmers who depend on rain-fed rice production. These stresses can be caused by extreme climatic changes like drought, flooding, or rising sea levels. While some can be inherent like high iron toxicity in the soil; These new varieties are aimed at developing rice types that can survive in these harsh environments.
IRRI Tackles Drought Resistant Rice
In recent years, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has developed rice with better tolerance to drought, submergence, cold, salinity, and sodicity. Our national research and agricultural extension partners test these breeding lines in different locations and countries, including evaluating their performance on farmers’ fields. The selected lines which survive under stress and retain desirable grain qualities are released directly or bred into widely grown and popular local varieties.
Along with improved crop management, proper use of technology through extension work and the support of national institutions, these improved varieties or “climate change-ready rice” are showing substantial, positive impacts on the lives of poor farmers.
Drought is the most widespread and damaging of all environmental stresses, affecting millions of hectares of rain-fed rice in the world. In some states in India, severe drought can cause as much as 40% yield loss, amounting to $800 million.
IRRI developed drought-tolerant varieties which have been released in several countries including Ghana and are now being planted by farmers. Across these varieties, the average yield advantage of drought-tolerant varieties over drought-susceptible ones is 0.8-1.2 tons per hectare under drought.