Placeholder The Future of Rice: Emerging Varieties and Genetic Innovations
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The Future of Rice: Emerging Varieties and Genetic Innovations

The 21st century is a challenging era for the agriculture sector across all countries. And this is mostly due to global population growth, climate change, loss of farmlands due to urbanisation, and the decline of genetic resources. 

By the end of 2050, it is presumed that the world’s population will reach the figure of 9.6 billion, which was only 7 billion in 2021. This statistic is shared by the United Nations in its projections for population growth. 

With such projections, it is of utmost importance for the agriculture sector to develop high-yielding varieties of rice as a staple food that are resistant to climate change or pathogens. So, let’s learn about the rice future, its emerging varieties, and genetic innovations!

Improving Rice Production and Agriculture as a Whole Through Studies!

Several researchers have taken part in genomic studies to implement biotechnology directly into agriculture. So far in the 21st century, several genes or SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) have already been identified through comparative genomic studies. The Genome-wide association studies (GWAS)  approaches are implemented for the same. 

Genetic technologies are being used for crop agriculture, and the Genome Editing technique is the most commonly preferred inclusion for revolutionising the improvement of crops. Compared to conventional or standard technologies, Genome Editing has proven to be a simple, fast & efficient strategy for modifying the target genes of rice. 

Improved Varieties of Rice Upon Genetic Innovations

All the smallholders or farmers across the globe are experiencing decline in yields due to biotic or abiotic stress. As a result, more practical researchers introduced precision and innovative breeding tools to develop new rice varieties for addressing the yield stagnation and reduction. 

The smallholder farmers who produce rice have now increased their income rate by growing new rice varieties, which supports high yield, even under climate change and other stress conditions. Moreover, these new rice varieties are meant to support a stable yield and efficient utilisation of resources. 

Here are the varieties of rice that are introduced to withstand the climate stress and be resistant to all kinds of diseases or pests that might affect the production:

1) Climatic-Stress-Tolerant Rice Variety

With the Green Revolution, the rice production aspects are now higher in India. The new-age farmers are focusing more on producing various rice-seed varieties, which can adapt to the local conditions and give out good quality grains. 

This variety of rice is often flood & drought-tolerant, which has various subvarieties such as Sahbhagi Dhan of India, Sookha Dhan of Depal and Sahold Ulan of the Philippines. These rice varieties are tested to have better average drought or flood-tolerant capabilities than the usual yields. 

The drought-resistant rice varieties have the capability of producing 30% more yields after the cultivation has spent around six weeks in drought, both before and during the grain-filling and flowering period. Some of the other drought-resistant rice varieties in other parts of the world are:

  • ARICA 16 & NERICA 4 of Benin
  • FARO 58, FARO 59, FARO 63, FARO 64 & FARO 65 of Nigeria 

2) Rice-Blast-Resistant Variety

After 2010, this variety of rice was introduced to the world, which could resist the rice blast conditions. Rice blast is a type of fungus attack that spoils the entire rice cultivation. It is common for the standard rice seed varieties. But, rice genetic innovations have helped experts derive new subvarieties that can overcome the problem. 

Some of the rice types that fall under this variety are:

  • Fedearroz 67 & 68 of Colombia
  • La Esperanza of Peru
  • SFL09 & SFL011 of Ecuador
  • MAC 18 of Bolivia
  • IDIAP FL 137 of Panama

3) Pest & Disease Tolerant Varieties

As the production and plantation of rice crops have increased in intensity and volume, the infestation of pests and rodents has also increased. As per science and research, rodent infestation is one of the biggest worrying concerns that farmers face in most parts of the world. And the rodents cause significant damage to rice production. 

Farmers, without any alternative, often rely on various pesticides to eliminate rodents and pests to limit the damage. But on the other hand, they are exposing the rice plantation to harmful chemicals, which will also reduce the ROI on the yield. Therefore, ecological measures were implemented to manage the rodents efficiently and reduce the overall yield losses. 

Apart from community action and CBTS (Community Trap Barrier Systems), the farmers were also keen on producing new rice varieties that have tolerance and resistance against pests, diseases and pesticides. In the quest, the Green Super Rice cultivation was introduced, which can withstand several abiotic stresses. 

Conclusion

Hence, it can be concluded that improved rice varieties, post-harvest technologies and agronomic practices will positively impact the earnings of farmers around the world. Not just that, but as rice is a staple food for more than 4 billion people around the world; maximum yield is of utmost priority by withstanding the environmental barriers. Thus, these types and more are being introduced to the global agriculture market. 

 

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