Agri Business

New 27 rice varieties developed to suit different climatic conditions of India

Rutam Vora | Updated on: May 27, 2022
The newly-identified rice varieties were cultivated during the 2021 Kharif season—the wet season period from July to October in India (file photo)

The newly-identified rice varieties were cultivated during the 2021 Kharif season—the wet season period from July to October in India (file photo) | Photo Credit: K_K_MUSTAFAH -

On-farm trials by researchers from IRRI and partner organisations show yield improvement

In a big push for economic gains through higher productivity for rice growers in India, scientists have developed new rice varieties that suit the different environments of different growing regions in the country and give higher yields.

After a series of on-farm trials (OFT) across four rice-growing States iincluding Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh, the researchers have identified promising rice varieties that can adapt to the specific requirements of the different environments in the country, improving productivity.

Validation and promotion

A total of 27 new varieties, including some pipeline varieties, were validated. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said in a statement that they were nominated by more than nine Indian National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) breeding network partners.

These selected varieties will be further disseminated for extensive promotion through demonstration and are expected to help increase rice yield and profit compared to existing varieties. The researchers are also looking to infuse these varieties into the seed chains of respective States for speedy access to quality seeds.

The newly-identified rice varieties were cultivated during the 2021 Kharif season—the wet season period from July to October in India. The OFTs were conducted with a scientific protocol, targeting specific rice growing ecology and prevalent market segments with the nominated improved varieties from the NARES partners.

A total of 559 on-field trials were implemented in partnership with government organisations such as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), State Agricultural Universities (SAU), and non-government organisations (NGOs) as collaborators. During these trials, researchers collected feedback about the varieties from farmers and extension personnel.

"The development and identification of suitable rice varieties for specific environments in Indian farms are the critical first steps in helping the farmers increase their yield and productivity," said Swati Nayak, South Asia Lead-Seed Systems and Product Management at IRRI.

From the trials conducted, researchers found specific rice varieties with favourable responses for different farm locations and environments.

“The identified new varieties, when positioned rightly in the seed system, can lead to actual delivery of genetic gain in the farmer’s field,” said Nayak.

India is the world's second-largest producer and the largest exporter of rice, with 43.86 million hectares under cultivation across different climatic regions, soils and water conditions, with a yield of around 2610 kg (2021) per ha. India's annual rice output has increased from 53.6 million tonnes in 1980 to an estimated record of 129.66 million tonnes, as projected under the government's third advance estimate for 2021-22. The last five-year average was 116.44 million tonnes, with West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh as top growers.

The results of the trials were presented in a two-day online technical workshop by the India Seed System and Product Management team of the IRRI earlier this month.

Published on May 25, 2022
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