19 Jul 2008
Yes there is a new variety of rice called sub1 or submergence1 so-called because it can survive flooding according to the head of the plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology divisions of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Dr. Dave Mackill, as rice becomes submerged in water during typhoons and heavy rains. This is really good news also for our farmers and for us consumers as well who suffer from rice shortage at certain times especially right now. All of us know how costly rice has become rice now supposedly because of the rice shortage.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, “climate change is the most critical global challenges of our time,” and thus abrupt weather changes can affect agriculture, sea-level rise, and species extinction.
So if the climate comes to a point where we experience flood more often then shortage will be worse therefore less supply and more demand means price increase. So consumers will benefit from this.
This variety of rice that can survive flooding up to 17 days comes from a variety of Indian rice FR13A which has a gene that gives its ability to survive a flood that long. Usually when water does not drain for two days, the ordinary rice that we have will be damaged already so this new variety of rice would be helpful to our farmers and their source of livelihood.
Dr. Mackill said that flooding is even good to the sub1 variety of rice for it can produce five tons for each hectare submerged for 17 days so our farmers need not worry on the number of rice that they yield. According to Dr. Mackill, the ordinary rice variety which does not have the gene of the sub1 will only produce less than one ton per hectare and that there are no big differences in the taste of the sub1 rice variety compared with other varieties. He also said that IRRI has been distributing the seeds to farmers for small scale testing. The seeds of this new rice may be released officially to some countries next year.