IRRI-BMGF-PAU collaborate on the Dry Direct Seeded Rice Systems Project for the Indo-Gangetic Plains of India
(Ludhiana, Punjab, March 3, 2023) – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) co-organized an event with the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to launch its project PlantDirect – Dry direct seeded rice (DDSR) for the Indo-Gangetic Plains of India in partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). This project is supported by a grant to IRRI from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
PlantDirect will involve collaboration with ICAR institutions such as the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region, Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Punjab Agricultural University, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Center for Research and Development, and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, to develop water-efficient direct-seeded rice varieties to help stabilize India’s rice-wheat cropping system in the face of climate change. It is among the thematic projects covered under the IRRI and ICAR initiatives that complement and directly contribute to strengthening India’s IRRI-ICAR 2023-2027 work plan. The project comprises three work packages focused on tailored DDSR products, program and network development, and addressing elite germplasm trait gaps.
The Indo-Gangetic plains (IGP) of India are highly fertile and provide food security to nearly 40 percent of the country’s population. Farmers here predominantly practice the rice-wheat cropping system. However, current farming practices are not sustainable in the face of a rapidly changing climate. Transplanted rice is a heavy user of water. Its production is contributing to rapid groundwater depletion on the Western IGP. In the wheat crop, earlier onset of high temperatures is decreasing yield. Another major cause of concern related to rice farming in the Western IGP is the issue of crop residue burning, resulting in increased emissions and air pollution in the northern part of the country.
Short-duration DDSR varieties are a…