New Varieties Developing Better Rice and Wheat

A critical factor in the Green Revolution’s success was that new varieties were broadly adapted to the resource-poor environments prevalent in South Asia and they performed well under abiotic stresses and variable fertilizer doses.

Asia faces multiple challenges to ensuring food security, including dwindling water supplies for irrigation, changes in urbanization patterns and a growing threat of increased virulent diseases.

Improved rice and wheat varieties can play a major role in ensuring food security and combating these challenges by developing superior cultivars with good quality traits and genetic resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

CSISA-supported rice and wheat breeding work from 2012 to 2015 helped to produce new varieties and hybrids with high yield potential, region-specific grain quality traits, biotic and abiotic stress-tolerance and suitability for different cropping systems. These have been shared with the national agriculture research and extension systems (NARES) and many of these elite breeding lines are currently in advanced stages of testing in multi-location trials at state and national levels.

CSISA is also working to improve faster dissemination of superior, disease-resistant and stress-tolerant varieties to farmers. In the last year alone, 12 wheat varieties were released, as part of CSISA’s breeding work, for different environments and management conditions of South Asia.

Out of 60 rice entries tested during the 2014 dry season under machine-sown dry direct-seeded rice, 15 entries recorded more than 7.5 tons per hectare.

These improved varieties are often more profitable for resource-poor farmers and are one of the most effective adaptive strategies for events associated with climate change in South Asia.

Written and edited by: Anuradha Dhar, Ashwamegh Banerjee and Cynthia Mathys. Photo credits: Ashwamegh Banerjee, Srikanth Kolari, Vinaynath Reddy, Satish Kumar, Suryakanta Khandai and Wasim Iftikar. Copyright © the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2015. All rights reserved. Any opinions, boundaries and names stated herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily representative of or endorsed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) or its partner organizations. Fair use of this material is encouraged. Proper citation is requested.

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