Flood tolerant varieties impart resilience to farmers in flood-prone areas.
Climate vulnerability: : Flood, cyclone and unseasonal rains
Flooding is a major challenge for rice production in the country. Heavy and intense rainfall events cause flash floods due to overflow of rivers and canals or sometimes tidal movements in coastal areas. Continuous high rainfall in a short span leading to water logging and heavy rainfall with high speed winds in a short span due to cyclonic storms cause inundation of paddy fields and lodging of the crop at grain filling and maturity stages causing huge losses to the farmer. Further, flood is a recurrent phenomenon in coastal Andhra Pradesh and the problem is accentuated due to poor or non-existent drainage and in some cases due to the topography of the land which impedes fast drainage from crop lands. Apart from improving drainage and other preventive measures, farmers can adopt flood tolerant varieties that can withstand inundation for an extended period and reduce the risk from flood damage.
Resilient practice/ technology
Rice varieties Swarna-sub1, MTU-1010, MTU-1001 and MTU-1140 are high yielding with good grain quality apart from possessing submergence tolerance and perform better under flood situation. Demonstration of these varieties in flood-prone areas showed that Swarna-sub1, a variety developed by IRRI and CRRI, Cuttack and released in 2009, could tolerate submergence up to two weeks and could perform significantly better compared to other improved and local cultivars. MTU-1010 is a short duration, dwarf variety resistant to lodging and can withstand moderate wind velocity. This attribute of lodging resistance saves from not only loss in grain but also straw yield which is the main source of dry fodder. MTU-1140 is also a promising, non- lodging variety comparable in grain quality to BPT-5204.
Impact of flood tolerant varieties
In Sirsuwada, a village of Kothuru mandal in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, farmers prefer to grow improved varieties of paddy such as BPT-5204, Swarna and MTU-1001 due to high yield potential and market demand in the district but are susceptible to flooding. However, in recent years due to heavy and intense rainfall and cyclonic storms, paddy crop is experiencing damage due to flooding. KVK, Srikakulam encouraged farmers to adopt flood tolerant varieties to minimize crop damage due to submergence. Farmers found that Indra-MTU-1061 with a seed dormancy of 2-3 weeks was non-lodging and tolerated inundation up to 10 days at later stages of crop growth.