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Develop rice varieties to cope with climate change: Swaminathan

PTI | New Delhi |

Stating that rice is going to be the future crop and the “food security savior”, renowned agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan on Monday said there is no time for scientists to relax but develop varieties that can better adapt to climate change and boost rice yields.
No doubt introduction of the first “semi-dwarf rice variety IR8” by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) way back in 1967-68 and subsequent other varieties triggered Green Revolution in India, but much more need to be done as the country's rice yields are very low at 3.5 tonnes/hectare despite being the second biggest rice producer, he said.
“It is not wheat but rice is going to be the crop of future in terms of climate change. Wheat cannot, as night temperatures are important. If temperature goes up by two degrees, wheat production will fall by 6 million tonnes,” Swaminathan said at an event organised by IRRI to commemorate 50 years of the introduction of rice variety IR8.
Since “rice is going to be the food security savior”, he urged IRRI and Indian scientists to develop new rice varieties that can cope with challenges of climate change.
Swaminathan, who is known as Father of India's Green Revolution, however, cautioned scientists to develop such farm technologies which are economically sound.
“Indian farmers are ready to adopt technologies provided they are economically sound,” he said.