The Burma Rice Research Station is set to develop a flood-tolerant strain of rice soon.
According to a Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA) press release the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Burma Rice Research Station collaborated on the development of this strain of rice. This strain of rice has been spoken about for some time now.
Burma Rice Research Station Chief Scientist and plant breeder, Dr Mahendra Persaud noted that the groundwork has been completed for the new strain which is expected to be able to tolerate flood conditions for up to two weeks. He also said Guyana can be a pioneer in this field in this part of the world as this type of genetic improvement in rice has been successfully achieved in India and Bangladesh with assistance from the IRRI.
The flood-resistant variety has a gene (Sub 1 gene) that allows rice to survive complete submergence for up to 17 days, and according to Persaud, this new variety will add to several others that are currently being used. These include varieties that are blast resistant, can withstand delayed harvesting and those with enhanced cooking and milling qualities.
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has already released 10 blast-resistant varieties, GINA said. It has also, over the past three years, developed 5000 breeding lines and is tasked with maintaining the genetic quality of each. Plans are also in train to develop aromatic rice, strains that are tolerant to salt and some that are disease resilient.