Climate change: Research is started on new varieties of rice for the Haor region
By Zeba Tarannum
One-fifth of the total paddy produced in Bangladesh comes from the Haor region. But due to the impact of climate change, Paddy cultivation in this region is facing extreme disaster.
Kamala Ranjan Das, Additional Secretary (Research) of the Ministry of Agriculture, said, In this situation, Haor areas need short-lived, cold-tolerant and high-yielding varieties of paddy.
The additional agriculture secretary made this remark at a virtual workshop organized by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRI) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on Monday (September 14, 2020).
A five-year research project titled “Development of Short-Durability Cold-Tolerant Rice Varieties for Haor Areas of Bangladesh” funded by the Agricultural Research Foundation (KGF) was inaugurated in this workshop. IRRI’s partner in this study is the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).
Wishing success to the project, Additional Agriculture Secretary Kamala Ranjan Das said, Bangladesh has a long-standing relationship with IRRI. IRI has a critical role to play in ensuring food security in Bangladesh.
The joint research by IRRI and BRRI, funded by the Agricultural Research Foundation, will change people’s livelihoods in Haor areas. It will also play an essential role in food and nutrition security.
Boro paddy is the main crop in the haor area. But many times in the first week of April, the upstream water from hills causes early floods. The semi-ripe paddy in the field is almost entirely submerged due to floods. The Boro season begins in mid-November.
However, many farmers started sowing seeds at the end of October to protect the crop from floods. But in the winter of January-February, the breeding of paddy is affected, and the number of immatured rice increases.
Farmers in this area need a short life span (120-140 days), winter tolerant and high yielding paddy whose crop can be harvested in advance before the onset of floods. This joint research by IRI and BRRI, funded by KGF, is to develop this type of climate tolerant short-lived rice variety.
Md. Shahjahan Kabir, Director General of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRI), said, the amount of our cultivable land is decreasing at the rate of 0.4% per annum.
Still, the population is increasing at a rate of 1.37%. Moreover, the impact of climate change is repeatedly challenging our food security. Boro is the only crop grown annually on 12.5 million hectares of land in northeastern Bangladesh. But due to the upstream water from hills, the yield is often damaged.
Then food security is threatened. That is why we are trying to invent short-lived cold-tolerant varieties of rice. For this purpose, BRRI has already collected cold-tolerant germplasm from South Korea, Japan, and Nepal, characterized.
Jibon Krishna Biswas, Executive Director of the Agricultural Research Foundation, said, The paddy farmers of Haor areas fall into unfavorable conditions twice in the boro season- once at the beginning of the season, another at the end.
Changes in the weather rules cause significant damage to the crop. This new research project aims to find practical solutions for farmers to deal with these two adverse conditions. Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has been researching winter tolerant varieties of rice for years. We are just cooperating in this work.
Matthew Morel, Director General of IRRI, said that farmers’ challenges in the Haor region of Bangladesh would be exacerbated in the future by the impact of global climate change. So, keeping that situation in mind, it is essential to invent new varieties of rice.
Head of the Plant Breeding Division of IRRI, Dr. Hansraj Varadwaj, South Asia Representative Dr.Nafis Mia, and Bangladesh representative Dr. Hamnath Bhandari was also a present online workshop.
Ref: Green Page