In the Indian state of Odisha, rice is synonymous with food. Unfortunately, the state is also vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Odisha’s agriculture sector is already experiencing delayed monsoon and prolonged dry season, increased frequency of heavy rainfall and strong cyclones, and higher average temperatures. All of these contribute to lower rice productivity.
To help mitigate the impact of climate change, representatives of the state government and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) signed a memorandum of understanding to promote high-yielding, stress-tolerant, and climate-resilient rice varieties in the rainfed areas of Odisha. The partnership will also focus on developing modern and appropriate management practices for both rainfed and irrigated systems.
“With frequent natural calamities causing huge loss in the agriculture sector, the government hopes IRRI would come up with new technology to produce more stress-tolerant paddy that would be helpful for farmers,”said Mr. Rajesh Verma, Odisha’s principal secretary Agriculture. “Besides, more efficient and cost effective nutrient management technologies would be available to the farmers.” This collaboration would further explore science-based crop insurance system at a reasonable cost, Verma added.
Naveen Patnaik, chief minister of Odisha agreed. “This would help in developing high-yielding varieties that can cope with adverse climatic conditions and paddy seeds that can be grown even under drought and flood conditions,” he said.
In addition, the collaboration also strengthens cooperation in the field of research, development, training, improvement of production technology of rice and extension.
“We will provide better flood and drought-resistant seeds, manage post-harvest activities, increase capacity building of rice scientists, progressive farmers and agriculture officials and dissemination of other technical know-how,” said Matthew Morell, IRRI deputy director general for research
Commissioner of Agriculture Pramod Meherda and Morell signed agreement on 3 October in the presence of Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy, Chief Secretary Gopal Chand Pati, and other senior officials. IRRI scientists Dr. A. M. Ismail, Dr. U. S. Singh, and Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, were also present during the event.
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