Nepal releases seven new and improved rice varieties to increase domestic rice production
The National Seed Board of Nepal has approved the release of seven new rice varieties for cultivation in 2022 namely Ghaiya-3, Hardinath-4, Hardinath-5, Hardinath-6, Khumal Basmati-16, Ganga Sagar-1, and Ganga Sagar-3. The newly released cultivars have multiple traits, including high-grain production, good grain quality, and resistance to pests and diseases. Some are also flood- and drought-tolerant and have 20% higher nitrogen-use efficiency.
The diversified rice production system in Nepal is expected to greatly benefit from the new varieties, which could help increase domestic rice production and lower the nation’s steadily rising rice imports. This will not only increase the varietal choice for the farmers but also offer new business opportunities for rice-based industries and wider choices for consumers. These varieties would also be vital resources for improving the livelihood of smallholder and vulnerable farming families because they can produce significantly higher yields under unfavorable climatic conditions.
They also have high nutrient-use efficiency compared to other improved varieties which can reduce the greenhouse gas emission and pollution from rice production and improve its environmental footprint. Moreover, all of these are inbred rice varieties. Farmers can produce and use their own seeds for up to three years as long as their genetic purity and germination percentages can be maintained at the highest level.