IRRI-Manila teams up with SHUATS for drought breeding programme
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Manila, Philippines is teaming up with Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS), Prayagraj as part of a drought breeding programme which aims at developing rice varieties that can survive in drought.
A high-level team of scientists from IRRI headed by Hans Raj Bharadwaj, Platform Leader – Rice Breeding Innovations recently visited SHUATS and met Prof Rajendra Bihari Lal, vice-chancellor, SHUATS to further this partnership and see the drought trials first hand, informed Ramakant Dubey, PRO & Spokesperson, SHUATS on other day.
The team along with the VC visited the trial plots and expressed happiness at the results. The team interacted with the students and faculty members and enlightened them about the working of IRRI, he said.
Bharadwaj visited the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Prayagraj, interacted with farm specialists and progressive farmers and enquired about their needs and issues. He also saw the front-line demonstrations of high yielding varieties introduced and planted under on farm trials of IRRI. The farmers and the IRRI team were satisfied with the performance of these trials, Dubey added.
The importance of the work can be gauged form the fact that drought is the most widespread and damaging of all environmental stresses, affecting 23 million hectares of rain-fed rice in South and Southeast Asia.
It is to be noted that the total geographical area of Uttar Pradesh is 240.93 lakh hectares. The state produces about 21% of all food grains of the country, and hence is agriculturally important. The total sown area in UP is 25.30 million hectares out of which 17.69 million hectares is irrigated area (66%). Thus, one -third of the irrigated area and the entire extent of rain fed area in the state are dependent on monsoon which are prone to frequent droughts, according to SHUATS officials .
IRRI has identified Oryza sativa L Lines introgressed (transfer of genetic material between species following hybridization and backcrossing to the parental species) with drought tolerance genes for sustainable paddy yield under terminal drought conditions. In India, IRRI tests these breeding lines in different locations through Agri -Alliance network, including evaluating their performance on farmers’ fields of which SHUATS, Prayagraj is a lead centre.
The selected lines which survive under stress and retain desirable grain qualities are either released directly or bred into widely grown and popular local varieties.
SHUATS is a part of this network since 2021 and has received more than 280 segregating drought tolerant F5 populations for validation under drought stress conditions.