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cricket_pagol
September 16, 2007, 12:54 AM
Bangladesh says new flood-resistant rice offers hope to farmers

DHAKA (AFP) - A new strain of rice may be able to resist floods that destroy vast tracts of paddy fields in Bangladesh each year, offering hope to millions of poor farmers, researchers say.
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The farmers lose their rice crops when fields are submerged by annual floods triggered when rivers, fed by heavy monsoon rains and melting Himalayan glaciers, burst their banks. The rice type, called Swarna Submergence 1, developed by the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), proved to be flood resistant in trials this year in northern Bangladesh, researchers said. Normal rice varieties cannot survive being submerged by flood water for more than three days, resulting in huge losses for farmers.
But "last month when the flood water receded from two farms in which Swarna Sub-1 was planted, we saw the rice paddy stand up again, 10 days after it was completely submerged by water," said senior researcher Abdul Mazid. "It was simply amazing. It means the variety has proved flood-resistant. It could be a huge step towards helping millions of rice farmers who are made paupers by floods," said Mazid of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).

Low-lying Bangladesh, criss-crossed by 230 rivers, experiences flooding every year. Experts say the floods are one of the main reasons why 40 percent of the country's 140 million population live in dire poverty.
Rice production accounts for 14 per cent of Bangladesh's gross domestic product. Some two-thirds of Bangladesh's 144 million population directly or indirectly derive their living from rice farming. "If the flood water stays two to three days, it is a blessing. It nourishes the soils. But if it stays longer, it destroys the crops," said IRRI liaison scientist Hamid Mia. This year alone rice worth 290 million dollars was damaged in one the worst floods in nearly a decade in July, according to preliminary estimates. The government said the losses would climb following a second spell of flooding in early September that has submerged more than a third of the country. Swarna Sub-1 was invented in 2004 after IRRI researchers implanted a submergence-resistant gene in a massively popular high-yielding Indian rice variety through conventional breeding.

"The idea was to give the farmers a variety that can survive flood water for 10 to 17 days while at the same time ensuring them a more than average yield," said Mia. With support from Swiss charity Inter Corp, BRRI distributed seeds and seedlings of the submergence-resistant rice variety to 114 farmers across nine districts in the country. "The field tests have so far yielded very good results. The farmers are excited and want more seeds and seedlings," said Mazid. "Next year, we will quadruple the number of testing farms. And hopefully, by 2009-2010, we can start commercial production of the flood-resistant rice," he added.

SOURCE (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070916/sc_afp/sciencebangladeshfarmfloodsfoodrice_070916044443)

Puck
September 16, 2007, 05:19 AM
how much would it cost to implement this new variety across the nation? whaever it is, it seems worth the cost. a harvest is all about hope.

cricket_pagol
September 18, 2007, 11:34 PM
BBC finally decides to cover this news!!!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7001494.stm

New rice strain 'survives floods'

<!-- S BO --> <!-- S IBYL --> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="416"> <tbody><tr> <td valign="bottom"> By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Dhaka
</td> </tr> </tbody></table>http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/999999.gif

<!-- E IBYL --> <!-- S IIMA --> <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="203"> <tbody><tr><td> http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40734000/jpg/_40734841_rice203.jpg Bangladesh consumes around two million tonnes of rice a month

</td></tr> </tbody></table> <!-- E IIMA --> <!-- S SF --> Researchers in Bangladesh say that a new strain of rice may be able to withstand the floods which wreak havoc there every year.
Researchers at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute say that the rice type, called Swarna Submergence One, can survive up to two weeks in water. Every year, about one-fifth of Bangladesh disappears beneath the monsoon rain waters. The floods cause huge destruction to the country's staple crop.
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High-yield
The government reckons that this year's floods - the worst in years - have so far caused losses worth up to $290m, hurting rural communities and pushing up food prices in the cities.

Scientists at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute say that the new train survived the recent floods. The institute's Director of Research, MA Salaam, told the BBC that Swarna Submergence One type rice plants they were growing on two farms in northern Bangladesh lasted more than 10 days under water. Other rice types might benefit from being submerged for two to three days, but after any longer, they begin to die. The new strain, a high-yield variety invented in the Philippines, has obvious benefits. Dr Salam said that next year, the test will be greatly expanded and if that too proves successful, the rice may then be made widely available.<!-- E BO -->