GUWAHATI, July 6 - With recurring flood-induced crop damages hurting the State�s agriculture, Assam Agriculture University (AAU) and the agriculture department have joined hands for promotion of submergence-resistant rice varieties.
As part of this flood-adaptation strategy, two varieties of rice � Ranjit-Sub 1 and Bahadur-Sub 1 � are being extensively popularised across villages in North Lakhimpur, one of the worst flood-affected districts of the State.
This is for the first time that the two flood-resistant varieties are being tested on a major scale. The two varieties were notified in March this year. Swarna Sub-1 variety was in use earlier, but the latest two varieties are said to be of superior quality in terms of submergence resistance.
�The Ranjit and Bahadur varieties will be planted this khariff season. Preparations are afoot for this, with flood-adaptive cluster demonstration and head-to-head demonstration for farmers in Naoboicha and Bihpuria revenue circles of North Lakhimpur,� Dr Prabal Saikia, Chief Scientist, Regional Agricultural Research Station under AAU, North Lakhimpur, told The Assam Tribune.
The two varieties can resist submergence for up to two weeks, and significantly, they do not sacrifice their potential yield because of the prolonged submergence.
�These two varieties can endure underwater conditions for two weeks without losing their potential yield. The existing varieties can barely last five days of submergence,� he said.
Enriched with the �submergence� (sub in short) gene, the two varieties can yield up to five tonnes per hectare on the average.
The agricultural scientists are confident that Ranjit and Bahadur would transform the State�s agricultural scenario for the better. Given that many crop-yielding areas stay under water for many days during floods, these two rice varieties can reduce flood-caused crop loss substantially.
The promotion of the two varieties has been started in 19 districts as part of an AAU project with the support of Assam Agri Business and Rural Transformation in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines.
�The seeds have been given to the nurseries and plantation can begin after about 15 days,� Dr Saikia said.