The Daily Star of Dhaka reports today that flood-tolerant rice will soon be officially released in Bangladesh.
The flood-tolerant rice varieties (called Sub1- rice) can help farmers, many who live on less than $1/day, dramatically increase yield during floods.
Dave Mackill of the International Rice Research Institute (formerly of UC Davis) led the precision breeding efforts. The team introduced the Sub1 gene into BR-11 and three other varieties that are popular with farmers and consumers. The new BR-11 Sub1 variety has been embraced by farmers in field trials because it is effectively identical to the conventionally bred BR11 parent. The difference is that BR11-Sub1 can survive two weeks of flooding, whereas the conventionally bred variety will die after three days. Achieving this type of stress tolerance is an important goal of plant breeders.
MA Mazid, former chief of the BRRI Regional Station in Rangpur, told The Daily Star that 65 percent farmers cultivate BR-11 during aman season, which is susceptible to flash floods or rainwater over 10 days. “So the Sub1 varieties now hold the potential to become a good replacement for BR-11.”
India released its first submergence-tolerant rice variety in April this year. The Philippines released its variety, called Submarino 1, in July.