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Rice for all seasons

Rice for all seasons

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Rice production on 60 million hectares of rainfed areas in Asia and almost 7 million hectares in sub-Saharan Africa
Rice production on 60 million hectares of rainfed areas in Asia and almost 7 million hectares in sub-Saharan Africa

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: International Rice Research Institute on May 24, 2012
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08/01/2013

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35
Annual Report 2011
GRiSP
Annual Report 2011
Rice for all seasons
ice production on 60 millionhectares of rainfed areas in Asia and almost 7 million hectares insub-Saharan Africa remains low and unstable due to frequent drought or 
fooding. But now, rice varieties arebeing developed that can withstand both moderate droughts and foods,
which will ensure that farmersobtain at least minimum attainableyields—with high water or little water resulting from extreme weather 
events.
S
ometimes farmers deal withtoo much water for their cropsand sometimes they don’thave enough. This phenomenon hasplagued farming since the dawn of agriculture. And, despite advance-ments in meteorological technology,many farmers are exposed to climat-ic extremes more than ever before.
Majorooding,whichtook
place occasionally in the past,now appears to have become thenorm. Droughts, too, have beenincreasing in frequency and inten-sity. The Food and Agriculture Or-ganization (FAO) blames climatechange for causing such extremeweather patterns to become in-creasingly common.
1
For poor people who are already vulnera-
ble,droughtsandoodsaregrave
threats to their food security.
The cost of world climategone wild
TheUnitedNationsFramework
Convention on Climate Change
2
 predicted increases in the fre-
1
FAO.2002.Cropsanddrops:makingthebest
use of water for agriculture. World Food Day.Rome, Italy: FAO.
2
UNFCCC. 2007. Climate change: impacts,vulnerabilities and adaptation in developingcountries. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/publica-tions/impacts.pdf.
Drought in IndiaFlooding in Bangladesh
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36
GRiSP
Annual Report 2011
quency and intensity of extremeweather events, including droughts
andoods.Thiscouldreduceyields
from rainfed crops in some Africancountries by 50% by 2020. Netrevenues from crops could fall by90% by 2100. Decreases in cropyield caused by droughts during thesummer months and increases inextreme rainfall and winds associ-ated with tropical cyclones in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia
couldputmillionsofpeopleatrisk
from hunger. According to Arvind Kumar, plantbreeder at IRRI, rice production on60 million hectares of rainfed areasin Asia and almost 7 million hectaresin sub-Saharan Africa remains low(0.5–2.5 t/ha) and unstable due to
frequentdroughtorooding.“These
events can occur in different years,or both can happen in the sameseason during different crop growthperiods,” he explains. Dr. Kumar isresponsible in GRiSP for developingdrought-tolerant rice varieties.
Not a drop of water 
Without rain, there can be no crops;without crops, there is no food, nomoney, and ultimately no hope.
“InAsiaalone,droughtisresponsible
for low and unstable production onover 23 million hectares of rice area,”
Dr.Kumarsaid.“About38%ofthe
world’s area that contributes 70% of agricultural output worldwide is ex-posed to drought.
“In2002,injustthreeprovincesofIndia—Chhattisgarh,Jharkhand,
and Orissa—economic loss due tothe occurrence of severe drought
wasestimatedtosurpassUS$680million,”headded.“In2010,the
UN reported that an estimated 12.4million people had been gravely af-fected by the ongoing drought in Dji-bouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.”
Too many drops
Incessant rains have unleashed onewatery deluge after another from
SouthAsiain2010totheMekong
Delta in 2011 and in Mozambiqueand Zimbabwe at the beginning of 2012.
“Submergenceaffectsmorethan
16 million hectares of rice land inlowland and deepwater rice areas,causing annual economic loss of more than $600 million,” said Dr.
Kumar.“Duringoods,farmersin
Bangladesh and India lose up to 4million tons of rice per year—enoughto feed 30 million people. In 2006,
thePhilippineslostharveststooods
worth $65 million.”
A bigger challenge for farmersand breeders
“Ongoingclimatechangeisbringing
new challenges to sustain rice culti-vation and improve yields in rainfedenvironments,” Dr. Kumar pointedout.
Anticipatingthelikelyeffectof
this phenomenon on rice cultivation,IRRI initiated breeding efforts to de-velop climate-resilient varieties that
aretolerantofooding,drought,and
high temperature.IRRI had already successfullydeveloped rice varieties that cancope more effectively with individual
environmentalstress,fromood-tolerant“scuba”ricevarietiestodrought-tolerant“dry”ricecultivars.
Swarna-Sub1, which can remain
underwaterforupto2weeksand
recover once the water subsides,has been released as a variety for submergence-prone areas in India,Nepal, and Bangladesh and is nowtargeted to be grown on more than 6million hectares in South Asia. Sahb-hagi dhan, a variety that can surviveeven if there were no rains for up to12 days right after the seed is sown
oratthestartofowering,hasbeen
released in Bangladesh, India, andNepal.
Breeding for the two extremes
“Uponsuccessfuldevelopmentofva
-rieties tolerant of either submergenceor drought, IRRI began concentratedefforts to combine tolerance of the
Going to extremes.
Dr. Kumar inspects
extremelineswithbothdroughtandooding
tolerance in IRRI’s experimental plots.
Rice for all seasons
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