1. Agriculture World

IRRI-NARES Collaboration Identifies Improved Rice Varieties through On-Farm Trials

A total of 27 new varieties were validated, including some pipeline varieties. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) announced in a statement that they were selected by more than nine partners in the Indian National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) breeding network.

Shivam Dwivedi
Paddy Fields
Paddy Fields

Researchers discovered promising rice varieties that can adapt to different environments in the country, making them more productive, after conducting on-farm trials (OFT) in four rice-growing states, including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh. This is part of a larger effort to boost India's economy by increasing rice farmer productivity.

A total of 27 new varieties were validated, including some pipeline varieties. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) announced in a statement that they were selected by more than nine partners in the Indian National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) breeding network.

These selected varieties will be widely promoted through demonstrations, and when compared to existing varieties, they are expected to help increase rice yield and profit. The researchers also want to get these varieties into each state's seed chains as soon as possible so that farmers can get good seeds.

The new rice varieties were planted in India during the Kharif season in 2021, which runs from July to October. The OFTs were carried out in accordance with a scientific plan, with the NARES partners' nominated improved varieties aiming for specific rice-growing environments and popular market segments.

A total of 559 field trials were conducted in collaboration with government organizations such as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), State Agricultural Universities (SAU), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). During these trials, farmers and extension workers provided researchers with feedback on the various varieties.

'The most important first steps to help Indian farmers increase their yield and productivity are to develop and find rice varieties that do well in the conditions of their farms,' said Swati Nayak, South Asia Lead-Seed Systems and Product Management at IRRI.

Researchers were able to identify specific types of rice that performed well in various farm locations and environments as a result of the tests. 'The identified new varieties, when placed in the seed system in the right way, can lead to real genetic gains on the farmer's field,' said Nayak.

India is the world's largest rice exporter and the world's second-largest producer of rice. It cultivates rice on 43.86 million hectares of land in various climates, soils, and water conditions, and each hectare yields approximately 2610 kg (2021) of rice. According to the government's third advance estimate, India's annual rice production increased from 53.6 million tonnes in 1980 to an estimated record of 129.66 million tonnes in 2021-22.

The five-year average was 116.44 million tonnes, with West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh being the top two growing areas. The IRRI's India Seed System and Product Management team held a two-day online technical workshop earlier this month to discuss the trial results.

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