After heatwave comes heat-tolerant rice

Heat-tolerant rice developed by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute is under trial at its Habiganj research station BRRI

Trials underway both at farmers’ fields and regional research stations; Brri trying to expedite the official release of promising new rice variety

This season’s crop loss owing to heat stress comes as a stark reminder of what the rice scientists have long been forewarning.

High temperatures would considerably limit rice production – that’s what they had warned. And scientists at the country’s premier research station – Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) – went ahead with research in 2013 aimed at developing rice varieties capable of withstanding heat stress.

It now appears that success has come their way. It couldn’t have been better timed.

BRRI’s breeder success in developing heat-tolerant rice comes at a time when Boro farmers have suffered crop loss in different districts due to a heat shock-induced sterility in paddy plants. The April 4 nor’wester that came along with hot gusty winds damaged paddy on thousands of hectares in some central, central-east and northwest districts of the country.

“We have just harvested rice in a Gazipur experiment field where one of our new heat-tolerant lines was grown. It yields good, it yields fast,” Md Sazzadur Rahman, BRRI Plant Physiologist and a principal architect behind the development of heat-tolerant rice, told Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday.