Indian scientists develop new flood-tolerant paddy variety

Scientists at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) a that they have developed a new variety of rice `Swarna Sub-1' under a collaborative research programme with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines.

The submergence-tolerant gene (Sub-1) was cloned by IRRI from the Indian flood-tolerant variety FR-13-A and was transferred into the popular Indian rice variety `Swarna' and hence the name of this variety as `Swarna Sub-1', minister of state for agriculture K V Thomas informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

This variety can give yields of 3.0 to 3.5 tonnes per hectare even under submerged condition for about two weeks. The variety has been formally notified in 2009, indents are expected from next year onwards, the release said.

The minister also said the central pool had rice stock of 14.91 million tonnes as of 1 October 2009 against the buffer norm of 5.2 million tonnes and strategic reserve of 2.0 million tonnes. He said government agencies have procured 11.67 million tonnes of rice in the current kharif marketing season 2009-10 as of 24 November 2009 against 10.70 million tonnes procured in the corresponding period in KMS 2008-09.

At the estimated level of procurement of 26.0 million tonnes of rice by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the stock of rice in the central pool is expected to be sufficient to meet the current level of requirement of targeted public distribution system and other welfare scheme, he added.