Annual Report 2011
quency and intensity of extremeweather events, including droughts
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
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
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.
for low and unstable production onover 23 million hectares of rice area,”
world’s area that contributes 70% of agricultural output worldwide is ex-posed to drought.
and Orissa—economic loss due tothe occurrence of severe drought
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
Delta in 2011 and in Mozambiqueand Zimbabwe at the beginning of 2012.
16 million hectares of rice land inlowland and deepwater rice areas,causing annual economic loss of more than $600 million,” said Dr.
Bangladesh and India lose up to 4million tons of rice per year—enoughto feed 30 million people. In 2006,
worth $65 million.”
A bigger challenge for farmersand breeders
new challenges to sustain rice culti-vation and improve yields in rainfedenvironments,” Dr. Kumar pointedout.
this phenomenon on rice cultivation,IRRI initiated breeding efforts to de-velop climate-resilient varieties that
high temperature.IRRI had already successfullydeveloped rice varieties that cancope more effectively with individual
Swarna-Sub1, which can remain
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
released in Bangladesh, India, andNepal.
Breeding for the two extremes
-rieties tolerant of either submergenceor drought, IRRI began concentratedefforts to combine tolerance of the
Going to extremes.
Dr. Kumar inspects
tolerance in IRRI’s experimental plots.
Rice for all seasons
I s a g a n i S e r r a n o / I R R I ( 2 )