Newly-identified rice varieties could deliver genetic gain and farm productivity in India

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Researchers in India have identified new rice varieties that could adapt to specific requirements of the different environments in the country after a series of on-farm trials (OFT).

The results of the rigorous trials were presented in a two-day technical workshop online organized by the India Seed System and Product Management team of the International Rice Research Institute on 5-6 May, 2022.

A total of 27 new varieties, including some pipeline varieties were validated as nominated by more than nine Indian National Agricultural Research & Education System (NARES) breeding network partners. The research also identified promising varieties and how they adapt in the various target environments. During these trials, researchers collected feedback about the varieties from farmers and extension personnel.

“The development and identification of suitable rice varieties for specific environments in Indian farms are the critical first steps in helping the farmers increase their yield and productivity. The identified new varieties when positioned rightly in the seed system, can lead to actual delivery of genetic gain in the farmer field. In addition, the smallholder farmers of the country need all the support to ensure they have awareness and equitable access to these new varieties and quality seeds” said Dr. Swati Nayak, South Asia Lead – Seed Systems & Product Management at IRRI.

India is the world’s second-largest producer and the largest exporter of rice. Grown at 43.86 million hectares across a variety of climate, and soil and water conditions, rice production increased from 53.6 million tons in 1980 to 120 million tons in 2020-21. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are the top states where rice is grown.

However, about 90 percent of cultivated land belongs to marginal, small, and medium farmers, limiting the productivity level of the country. India, with productivity of…

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