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Hybrid rice

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Rice production and productivity was significantly enhanced with the introduction and cultivation of semi-dwarf, fertilizer responsive and non-lodging high yielding varieties in the early seventies leading to the "Green Revolution". The yield level of high yielding varieties is plateauing in recent year. To meet the demand of increasing population and maintain this self sufficiency the present production level need to be increased up to 140 million tonnes by 2025 which can be achieved only by increasing the rice production by over 2 million tonnes per year in coming decade (Anonymous, 2005). This has to be done against the backdrop of declining natural resource base such as land, water, labour and other inputs and without adversely affecting the quality of environment.

There is an urgent need to adopt some innovative technologies to break the yield ceiling in rice. Among the available technological options to enhance rice production and productivity, hybrid rice is the most practically feasible and readily adoptable technology. Potential of this technology in boosting rice production has been well demonstrated in the peoples' Republic of China during last three decades. In 1976 first rice hybrid was released for general cultivation in China.  In China hybrid rice cultivated about 55 per cent of rice growing area with 66 per cent of the total rice grain production.

Recognizing the potential of hybrid rice to break the yield ceiling in rice, the Indian council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) initiated a goal oriented project on hybrid rice during 1989. This programme was implemented as a national network comprising 12 funded centres, 8 voluntary centres and another 20 seed company in both public and private sectors. Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), Hyderabad took the lead in coordinating this programme. This systemic approach which involved all the stakeholders right from the beginning has helped India to enter into an era of hybrid rice just after China. Hybrid vigour in rice is profitably used to increase its productivity by 14-28 per cent over the available best varieties in India (Siddiq, 1993).

As a result of concerted, goal oriented, time bound and coordinated efforts, four public bred rice hybrids ('APHR 1', 'APHR 2', MGR 1' and 'KRH 1') were released for the first time in the country for commercial cultivation during 1994. By now a total of 25 hybrids have been released for commercial cultivation. Among these 20 have  been developed by public sector while the remaining five viz. 'PHB 71', 'PA 6201', 'PA 6444' 'RH 204' and 'Suruchi 5401' have been developed by private sector. 

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.