Thai scientists develop flood-resistant rice

Thailand is one of the world’s largest rice exporters, but unpredictable weather conditions such as severe drought and heavy floods have driven Thai scientists to develop flood-resistant rice.

Researchers are working on a new strain of rice that can survive floods and resist pests, and perhaps someday even taste better than Cambodian rice.

The team of Thai scientists developing flood-resistant rice is led by Theerayut Tuchinda. He said…

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“The new strain named Hom Le Noi can withstand floods, and is non-photoperiod sensitive, which allows it to grow in all climates.”

Theerayut added that Hom Le Noi can resist bacterial leaf blight, a disease that turns leaves yellow, and the brown planthopper, an invasive species.

Thailand produces some of the world’s most highly regarded varieties of rice, but not quite highly regarded enough for many tastes.

Its Hom Mali, or jasmine fragrant rice, has won awards for the world’s best rice several times though suffered a catastrophic failure this year, and the kingdom’s grade B white rice is used by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as the benchmark for global rice prices.

As climate change causes more extreme weather, including floods, the race is on to develop new varieties of crops. Their success will be essential to maintaining food security and preventing shortages, famine and starvation, which could also lead to migration and civil strife.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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