Sunday, September 26, 2010

Staying afloat with submarine rice

Ranjit Devraj in IPS: South Asian rice farmers are switching to flood-tolerant strains of rice as insurance against inundations. ''Submergence-tolerant rice varieties are classic examples of adaptation to climate change,'' says Uma Shankar Singh, a rice scientist with the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Singh, who is currently in India, told IPS that the IRRI plans to transfer its highly successful SUB1 (short for submergence1) flood-tolerant gene to popular rice varieties across Asia to confer ability to withstand total submersion for more than two weeks. ''IRRI will transfer the SUB1 gene to most rice varieties with help from national research systems since rice crops may, thanks to climate change, increasingly encounter floods,'' Singh said.

Singh said that where IRRI only provided field-tested rice lines tolerant to flooding it has now begun to proactively assist government agencies and private seed companies to propagate and distribute seeds to farmers. Field testing a new rice variety may take four to five years before release and another two to three years before it reaches farmers.

After modifying the popular Indian rice 'Swarna' with the 'SUB1' gene to produce the 'Swarna-Sub1', IRRI scientists had the new variety released in August 2009 and are gratified to see it spread so fast that it may completely replace the original variety in flood-prone areas. … Mackill and other IRRI scientists argue in favour of rapid release of the Swarna Sub1 and vow that rice varieties into which the Sub1 gene has been inserted will not have problems -- such as susceptibility to diseases or insects -- that the originals do not suffer from….

That's US long grain rice in the photo

1 comment:

snoring solutions said...

Thanks for your information.Since agriculture constitutes a large fraction of the GDP in South Asian countries, even a small percentage loss in agricultural productivity through climate change may result in proportionately larger income losses as compared to industrialised countries.