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‘Flood-tolerant rice farmers’ choice’

Published : 03 Mar 2020 09:48 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 07:01 PM

Cultivation of flood-tolerant variety rice has already become the top choice for farmers in the country because of climate change and frequent disasters, said agricultural experts. These climate tolerant seeds are popular among the farmers to change their fortune as they head for bumper yields in the country during this Aman monsoon.

BRRI dhan51, BRRI dhan52, BINA dhan11 and BINA dhan12 rice survived submergence for over two weeks during recent floods and resumed normal growth to give better yield, says agriculturist M Abdul Momen of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Due to global warming, in Bangladesh scientists have developed these rice varieties to boost agriculture’s future. Extreme drought tolerant variant BRRI 57 is suitable for the Aman monsoon, he said.

It can survive beneath 20cm of water. Per hectare, farmers can yield 3-4 tons. After 105 days, they can reap the paddy, he mentioned. Croplands are often flooded by flash floods in the country due to climate change. Scientists have developed some varieties of rice that can withstand such floods. One of them is BRRI 51, which can be submerged for 15 to 17 days. After the flood, it returns to normal yield of up to 4 tonnes per hectare. It is one of the most popular rice varieties in the southern region, according to BRRI.

Another variety extremely flood tolerant is BRRI 79 varieties of paddy that can stay submerged in flood water for 18 to 21 days. In addition, without such a prolonged flood, it is capable of producing up to 7 tons per hectare in normal conditions. BRRI researcher Dr MA Mazid said, “It is not possible to fully control the effects of climate change. However, adaptation strategies must be adopted to accommodate changes.”

For example, the development and use of new varieties of high-yielding crops like adaptation to hostile climates (salinity, flood, drought, and waterlogging and extreme-heat tolerance) and short and long-term integrated plans should be made to increase their cultivation, he added.
He also said, extensive research on new crop and adaptation strategies needs to be strengthened.

Later, he stressed that to increase the use of adaptation strategies and new technologies, the government should raise awareness. He suggested that by creating a climate risk map in every upazila of the country, a comprehensive plan on all issues, including agriculture, food and infrastructure, could be achieved through research.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2010, Bangladesh will be extremely affected by climate change due to its geographical location.
Due to climate change, rainfall, drought, untimely rainfall, floods, waterlogging, extremely high and low temperatures, salinity and frequent catastrophic natural disasters and tides will emerge frequently.

According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), paddy yields have been projected to drop by 7-10% as the temperature rises every 1 degree above the current average temperature. Over the next 50 years, sea water levels are expected to rise by about one meter. As a result, 17 percent of the coastal areas of Bangladesh will drain in saline water and directly affect about 20 million people.