Drought is the most widespread and damaging of all environmental stresses, affecting 23 million hectares of rainfed rice in South and Southeast Asia. In some states in India, severe drought can cause as much as 40% yield loss, amounting to $800 million.
IRRI has developed drought-tolerant varieties which have been released in several countries and are now being planted by farmers. These include Sahbhagi dhan in India, the 5411 variety in the Philippines, and the Sookha dhan varieties in Nepal, and the BRRI dhan varieties in Bangladesh. Across these varieties, the average yield advantage of drought-tolerant varieties over drought-susceptible ones is 0.8-1.2 tons per hectare under drought.
IRRI scientists have identified several key regions of the rice genome that give the rice drought tolerance and improve rice grain yield under drought. IRRI is working towards introducing drought tolerance into popular high-yielding rice varieties including IR64, Swarna, and Vandana.
By using drought-tolerant rice, farmers can enjoy a 0.8 to 1.2 tons per hectare yield advantage than non-drought-tolerant varieties. This yield advantage will make the 23 million hectare-drought prone area to be much more productive, contributing to food security in poor rural communities.
Despite the successes that IRRI had achieved and continue to achieve, there’s still a lot of work that needs to get done and the Institute can’t do it alone. Funding plays a very important role on whether or not we could do more. This is where you come in.
Help us continue this project by donating to IRRI. The donation you give will enable us to continue our important research and, ultimately, help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
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Bank Account Name: International Rice Research Institute
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IRRI plant breeder Arvind Kumar shows progress in the Institute's drought tolerance research.
Rice Today features
- Drought-proof rice for African farmers (Rice Today April-June 2009)
- Overcoming the toughest stress in rice: Drought (Rice Today July-Sept 2009)