The most popular rice varieties and their salient features.
Jammu & Kashmir is an agri-horticulture state (in India) where a large population is economically dependent to agriculture and horticulture, directly or indirectly for livelihood, food and nutritional security. Rice, the staple food of majority population, is cultivated in diverse agro-ecological situations extending from subtropical area (<1000 m amsl) of Jammu, through temperate valley to cold high altitudes regions (1650–2400 m amsl) of Kashmir, and therefore rice biodiversity is rich. Some of the landraces fall into indica type and thrive well in temperate regions of valley, while others fall into japonica type and are prevalent in hilly areas. Cold tolerance is a special feature in most of these peculiar landraces, which are different from rest of the country. However, with the advent of High Yielding Varieties the local biodiversity got neglected and remained confined to seed banks. With new emerging challenges like climate change, population explosion, limited land and water resources, demand for organic products, local landraces have assumed tremendous importance, either for direct exploitation or indirect use. In this chapter, we attempt to bring out information about these landraces in a comprehensive manner and discuss the issues pertaining to their conservation, utilization, cultivation and revival through approaches like participatory plant breeding, participatory varietal selection or plant biotechnology.
- Oryza sativa
- climate change
- high yielding varieties
- cold tolerance
The state of Jammu and Kashmir comprises the extreme western part of the Himalayas (32.44°N and 74.54°E), with altitude ranging from 200 to 7000 m amsl. The valley of Kashmir (temperate zone) is approximately 120 km long and 32 km wide with an altitude range of 1524–2286 m amsl. Annual precipitation varies from 700 to 1500 mm. The temperature remains generally low, varying from −10°C during winter to 30°C during summer, with a yearly average of around 13°C. Generally, soil in rice growing areas is clay loam with a neutral pH. The economy of Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly agrarian, rice being the staple food and the most important food crop occupying an area of almost 140 thousand hectares. There are many well-known landraces of rice in Kashmir, noted for their unique qualities, peculiar taste and texture after cooking, early maturity and cold tolerance. When Green Revolution made its impact in India, the state of Jammu and Kashmir did not lag behind. Some introductions from China like China-1039, China 1007 and locally bred varieties like K-39, Jehlum and Chenab spread to every nook and corner of the state through vigorous political and infrastructural support by way of different Govt. sponsored schemes. As a result, faster replacement of indigenous low yielding landraces by modern High Yielding Varieties (HYVs) took place in the sixties and the entire rice area of Kashmir valley got covered under a few varieties.
China 1039 and China 1007 were the most popular varieties during 60s and 70s; K39 was the dominant rice variety from 80s to mid-1990s; while Jhelum took over as the most popular variety for the decade beginning from mid 90s. This variety has an excellent cooking quality and is most preferred even today, but due to its susceptibility to blast there has been a decline in its area. In order to save farmer’s interests a blast tolerant variety Shalimar Rice-1 was released in 2005 by the State Varietal Release Committee for the valley basin irrigated areas of Kashmir. This was followed by release of Shalimar Rice-2, Shalimar Rice-3, Shalimar Rice-4, all of which are blast tolerant and have good cooking quality (Table 1).
|Variety and year of release||Cross combination||Salient feature|
|China 1039 (1955)||Introduction||Yield potential 50–55 q/ha, cold tolerant, lodging and shattering susceptible, maturity 136–140 days (1650 m amsl). Moderately susceptible to blast, recommended for cultivation upto an altitude of 1650 m amsl|
|China 1007 (1956)||Introduction||Yield potential 50–60 q/ha, lodging and shattering resistant, cold tolerant at early stages of growth, maturity 145–147 days, special attribute: resistant to blast and suitable for low lying areas.|
|China 988 (1956)||Introduction||Lodging and shattering resistant, cold tolerant at early stages of growth, maturity 147–150 days, moderately tolerant to blast, suitable for low lying areas.|
|China 972 (1956)||Introduction||Lodging and shattering resistant, cold tolerant at early stages of growth, maturity 147–152 days, moderately tolerant to blast, suitable for low lying areas|
|K-60 (1962)||China 47/RIKUU-132||Resistant to shattering and lodging, resistant to cold, maturity 140–145 days, blast resistant|
|K-65 (1966)||NORIN-8/China-47||Easy threshability, lodging susceptible, low head rice recovery, maturity 140–145 days, suitable for low lying areas|
|K-39 (1978)||China 1039/IR-580||Yield potential 58–62 q/ha, high yielding, recommended upto 1650 m amsl, mod: susceptible to blast, resistant to lodging, maturity 140–145 days. High head rice recovery (%age)|
|Chenab (1996)||K-21/IR-2053||Yield potential 60–65 q/ha, coarse grained, moderately tolerant to blast, cold tolerant, possess complete synchronous flowering recommended upto 1650 m amsl, better cooking quality, maturity 138–140 days.|
|Jehlum (1996)||JAKKOKU/IET-1444||Yield potential 60–65 q/ha, high yielding, better cooking quality, greater tolerance to cold, moderately susceptible to blast. Recommended upto 1650 m amsl, maturity 138–140 days.|
|Shalimar Rice-1 (2005)||China 1007/IET 1444||Yield potential 65–70 q/ha, high yielding, better cooking quality, greater tolerance to cold, highly resistant to blast. Recommended upto 1650 m amsl, maturity 142–145 days, medium bold grain size.|
|Shalimar Rice-2 (2012)||VL Dhan 221/K 39||High yielding (80–85 q/ha) moderately blast resistant |
|Shalimar Rice-3 (2012)||IR32429-47-3-2-2/K 438||High yielding (80–85 q/ha), early maturing, cold tolerant |
|Shalimar Rice-4 (2016)||Jehlum/84017-IR745-12-1||High yielding (75–80 q/ha), early maturing, cold tolerant |
|Shenei (1967)||Introduction||Yield potential (30–35 q/ha), moderately tolerant to blast, cold tolerant, maturity 130–135 days, recommended ecology 1850–2200 m amsl|
|China 971 (1967)||Introduction||Yield potential (30–35 q/ha), moderately tolerant to blast, cold tolerant, maturity 130–135 days, recommended ecology 1850–2200 m amsl|
|Barkat (1974)||Shenei/China 971||Yield potential (38–40 q/ha), cold tolerant, high head rice recovery, susceptible to blast, maturity 140–145 days. Suitable for cultivation under mid altitude condition 1650–1850; universal donor for cold tolerance|
|K-332 (1982)||Shenei/Norin 11||Yield potential 40–45 q/ha, |
|Kohsar (2002)||Shenei/GINMASARI||Yield potential 45–50 q/ha, |
|Ranbir Basmati (1996)||Selection from Basmati 370||Suited to non-basmati growing areas, yield potential 20–30 q/ha; altitudinal tolerance upto 1000 m.|
Narrow genetic base increases the vulnerability of rice production system to biotic/abiotic stresses and has resulted in yield stagnation. Among the biotic stresses rice blast is the most damaging disease in Kashmir, while low temperature ranks first among the abiotic factors limiting rice production . Further, climate change is also a potential threat to rice production owing to erratic rise/fall in temperature, and change in the dynamics of pests and diseases. These nutritional and food security related issues demand the immediate attention of rice breeders and biotechnologists. Locally available rice germplasm is a valuable repository of traits which could help address most of these concerns effectively. Novel gene pools could be generated from the characterized germplasm and donors for yield, quality and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses identified. Besides, there are some quality rice varieties which when cultivated properly can boost the farm income substantially.
2. Collection, conservation and documentation of rice biodiversity - How and why?
The advent of Green Revolution had an overwhelming impact on rice production in Kashmir, as was elsewhere in the country. In 1966, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) released the first high yielding rice variety in the Philippines. In the subsequent decade Rice Breeders at Rice Research Station, Khudwani introduced Chinese high yielding varieties viz., China 1039, China 1007, China 988 and China 972 in selected pockets of Kashmir valley. However, in a matter of few years these varieties and the rice varieties developed by the station through crossing programme viz., K-60, K-65 and K-39 (most popular) almost completely replaced hundreds of the traditional rice landraces previously cultivated by the farmers . The new rice varieties had a higher harvest index (grain/straw ratio), and the benefit of delivering significantly higher yields when combined with accompanying management practices, including irrigation, weedicide and fertilizer application. These high yielding varieties spread in favorable environments, where the natural and infrastructural setting allowed for such practices. In unfavorable environments, in which irrigation and mechanization were not possible or agrochemicals were not available, the cultivation of the traditional landraces persisted. These marginal areas (upland environments, high altitude belts, very cold areas, etc.) could serve as a repository of indigenous rice germplasm/landraces. One such niche area is the ‘Sagam’ belt of Anantnag district, which continues to grow aromatic landraces
Waking up to the loss of original indigenous varieties of agri-horticulture crops a ‘National Agricultural Technology Project on Sustainable Management of Plant Biodiversity (1995–2005)’ was undertaken by scientists of SKUAST-K. Under this project a total 1911 germplasm accessions, which were under cultivation before the introduction of improved or imported varieties, were collected. The collected biodiversity included 742 accessions in cereals, 38 in pseudo cereals, 28 in millets, 71 in oilseeds in pulses, 377 in vegetable crops, 21 in spices and condiments, 13 in fodder crops, 204 medicinal and aromatic plants, 55 in fruit crops and 4 in others. The university deposited 1447 germplasm specimens with the National Gene Bank for storage and handed over 557 germplasm accessions to the Germplasm Handling Unit of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi for long term storage. For collection of rice germplasm, expeditions were undertaken by a team of rice experts and scientists to collect the rare germplasm from different areas, among which Tral (Wagad, Shikargah), Pahalgam (Batekoot, Puhri-pajal, Khayar Hapath-nard), Shopian (Balpora, Ganapora, Shadimarg, Kalampora), Badgam (Khan sahab, Chadoora), Kupwara (Nagri malpora), Rajouri and Uri were the prominent ones. Nearly 100 existing landraces of rice were collected and assigned accession numbers, for conservation and maintenance in the seed bank at Rice Research & Regional Station, Khudwani.
Currently most of the rice fields in Jammu & Kashmir are occupied by merely a small number of high yielding rice varieties, of which K-39, Jehlum, Chenab, Shalimar Rice 1, Rambir Basmati are the prominent ones. This trend is no different than rest of India and other Asian regions. In India the most widely grown rice varieties are Swarna, Samba Mahsuri, Sona Masuri, Jaya, Ratna, etc. In Philippines almost half of the rice area is devoted to four of the most widespread HYVs, Cambodia one single IRRI variety (IR66) accounts for around 90% of the rice area, and in Pakistan only four HYVs are planted on 99% of the country’s rice fields. This illustrates the immense ‘genetic erosion’ that has occurred in farmers’ fields since the onset of the Green Revolution.
At present, 580 germplasm accessions, indigenous and exotic, are being maintained as three row material at Mountain Research Centre for Field Crops (erstwhile Rice Research & Regional Station), Khudwani. Almost all these accessions have been characterized for different agro-morphological traits, diseases resistance score (leaf blast, panicle blast) and aroma in a period of 5 years (2008–2013). A systematic and exhaustive morphological and molecular characterization of the ‘speciality’ rice types has revealed some interesting results . DNA fingerprints of 16 pigmented and aromatic genotypes, mostly of Western Himalayan region (32° 44′–35° 2′ N and 74° 28′–75° 48′ E at altitude range of 1540–2200 mamsl in Kashmir; and 31° 17′ N and 76° 51′ E at an altitude of 1190 mamsl in Himachal Pradesh (India) have been developed and these were evaluated for genetic diversity using SSR markers. Various population parameters viz. range, mean, skewness and kurtosis from the data generated have shown wide range of variability (unpublished). This has enormous implications for future studies on gene/allele mining, as germplasm in Western Himalayas could serve as a vital resource of genetic repository for marginal areas.
The germplasm bank at MRCFC Khudwani maintains some well adapted exotic introductions (including
3. Why are landraces important?
3.1. Genetic and agronomic value
The local varieties are a repository of diverse genes, some of which are of practical importance in the changing socio-economic as well as edaphic/climatic conditions. While all high yielding varieties in Kashmir are white, mostly with medium bold grains, local rice varieties often exhibit tremendous morphological diversity. The color of the outer layer (pericarp) can range from black/purple to red and brownish to white. The grain weight of landraces in Kashmir, as characterized by the thousand-kernel weight, varies between 15 and 32 g, while the HYVs varies only between 22 and 34 g. In fact, more than 90% out of 92 identified landraces cultivated in the area are no longer under cultivation (Figure 2).
The findings of a recent study, conducted somewhere else, are presented here to illustrate the importance of conserving and exploring the ‘genetic value’ of landraces. A major quantitative trait locus for phosphorus-deficiency tolerance,
3.2. Socio-economic and cultural value
Rice is not only the dominant staple food, but also an integral part of culture in rural Kashmir. Some landraces have a special cultural value, for example scented landraces
3.3. Health value
The taste, texture and organoleptic value of rice depend on many factors. Rice is a starchy staple food which provides almost 90% of dietary energy to an average Kashmiri. It is a part of their culture, and even in parties, conventions, get-togethers rice is an indispensible component of their dishes. No party can ever be even imagined without ‘
3.4. Grain nutritional value
Another aspect that makes rice landraces attractive is the wide range in palatability, texture, and nutritional value depending upon their genetic makeup. With the advent of high yielding varieties and large scale adoption of the rice milling technology the spread of vitamin B-deficiency (
Similarly, higher levels of β-carotene are generally found in pigmented (colored) rice varieties . Such landraces of Kashmir with colored pericarp viz., brown (
3.5. Disease management value
4. Initiatives in biodiversity management of rice
4.1. Purification of scented local landraces
Kashmir is well known for the cultivation of some local scented landraces grown in different agroecological niches and maintained by farmers since time immemorial. Of the aromatic cultigens,
4.2. Identification and evaluation of local red rice type land races
As discussed earlier, a fruitful outcome of germplasm characterization was that some of the promising nutritive red rice types having colored pericarp were identified for evaluation, molecular intervention and biofortification. Preliminary evaluation of the 13 major red rice types viz.,
5. The way forward: What do we need to do?
Rice is cultivated in different agro-ecological regions of J&K, comprising sub-tropical area >1000 m amsl of Jammu region; mid altitude areas (1000 to <1650 m amsl) of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda districts; temperate or valley basin area (1650 to 1900 m amsl) and cold high altitude areas (>1950 to 2400 m amsl) of mountainous terrain of Kashmir. Nearly 10–12% of total rice cultivated area of the valley falls in the higher altitude region. The population of this region lives in harsher climate and difficult hilly/mountainous terrain. The farmers in this region still grow old non-descript varieties/cultivars which have poor yield potential and are susceptible to Paddy blast. Low temperature and very short summer months reduce yield and affect nutrient availability/mobilization rate from the soil. These are a big impediment to the introduction of varieties from mainland India, most of which thrive well under subtropical conditions . Attempts were made in the past to develop high yielding cold tolerant rice varieties like Barkat, K332, Kohsar etc. [1, 15, 16]. Similarly, an innovative programme on development of a hybrid rice was started at SKUAST (K), Khudwani, after procuring cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) lines and their maintainers from various institutions such as the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines), Directorate of Rice Research (Hyderabad), Central Rice Research Institute (Cuttack), and Punjab Agricultural University (Ludhiana). Studies on the performance of these CMS and maintainer lines (of tropical and subtropical regions) for various agro-morphological traits under temperate conditions of Kashmir revealed that these lines, because of poor phenotypic acceptability, cannot be used to develop experimental hybrids . In addition, a good number of hybrids released in India were also evaluated along with their parental lines under temperate conditions and were found to be not suitable for cultivation in such an environment . Thus, efforts were made to develop new CMS lines in the background of agronomically adapted and popular varieties of the region in order to fully exploit this technology. This led to the development of two cold-tolerant CMS lines suitable for Kashmir Himalayas . These CMS lines were then successfully employed for development of medium-bold rice hybrids with good grain quality for Kashmir Himalayas .
The challenges to nutritional and food security need to be addressed. At the same time weightage of an equal measure needs to be given towards the conservation and utilization of rice genetic diversity. This can be done using a multi-pronged strategy involving the following:
5.1. Conservation and rejuvenation
Most of locally adapted aromatic and non-aromatic rice genotypes have evolved as a consequence of natural and human selection, and are highly adapted to specific ecological niches carrying the genes for adaptability, early maturity and cold tolerance. These genotypes, having evolved under specific ecological niches of Kashmir carry combined adaptive traits for such difficult ecological regime, and are not much amenable to high input agriculture. Therefore, these need to conserved/maintained, and periodically cultivated for evaluation under resource poor and marginal conditions of far flung areas.
Conservation should aim to preserve all of the genetic variation that is available in a population, and is best insured by seed rejuvenation in an environment as similar as the native habitat of the population. On the contrary, evaluation should aim at the identification and isolation of obviously useful genotypes, involving selection and purification in the process. Splitting of original stocks into pure lines, and repeated seed increase cycles, are adjuncts of evaluation and utilization. Conservation maintains the germplasm inputs, while evaluation and utilization make these conservation efforts worthwhile. The dynamics of any crop needs to be understood prior to initiating any on-farm conservation and utilization programme. The conventional approach so far has been to transfer technologies generated elsewhere to the farmers. But such an approach has not only been less efficient in the adoption of the technologies by the farmers, but has also led to replacement or erosion of local genetic resources. This raises the question of how to generate relevant and farmer preferred technologies, while attempting to conserve, manage and utilize the rice diversity at community level.
Can participatory plant breeding be a guiding principle for redesigning/revitalizing the landraces to suit modern times? And can participatory varietal selection help in conserving the landraces in pure form wherever they fit farmers’ criteria and consumers’ preferences.
5.2. Participatory plant breeding and participatory varietal selection
There is a serious concern among the farmers, scientists, policymakers and environmentalists regarding continuous erosion of genetic biodiversity. When uniformity becomes the cause of genetic vulnerability, genetic diversity is the only insurance against it. In the era of climate change complex biotic and abiotic stresses shall cause the high yielding varieties succumb and lose their comparative economic advantage. The crisis is further expected to deepen in scope as well as intensity, when pressure due to population increase and urbanization causes shrinkage in rice area, as well as shift in rice cultivation towards newer areas with untested soil types, different climatic patterns, and new pathogenic interactions. Under these circumstances, can local landraces be a part of the solution?
Although many landraces are preserved by breeders in seed banks, farmers do not have access to these for cultivation. Moreover, preservation in seed banks does not allow these landraces to adapt to changing environmental settings and changing agricultural practices. In order to address both these issues and meet the challenges (discussed in above paragraph), systematic screening of the desired rice types by local farmers of an area, through participatory varietal selection (PVS), can lead to useful site-specific introductions . In this perspective it may be renamed as participatory varietal dispersal (PVD), and can lead to high seed replacement rate. PVS will also generate wealth of information about the (a) farmer preferred traits, and (b) trade-off between traits, which can then be followed by participatory plant breeding (PPB) for incorporating such useful traits/genes into the existing varieties and landraces. This would ensure genetic diversity on ground, and guarantee sustained levels of high productivity (Figure 7).
5.3. Value addition and promotion of domestic/international trade
Many landraces, mostly of
Further, scientific studies on aromatic rice of Kashmir have not given ample attention to their domestic trade in the past, despite the fact that scented rice varieties have competitive international price and the state can earn foreign exchange from them. However, in the present decade Ministry of Agriculture, Government of J&K has keenly supported the promotion and revival of these varieties. The Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, has permitted export of
5.4. Production of organic rice
The continuous cultivation of only a few select rice varieties has led to the loss of genetic diversity of landraces. Although many landraces are preserved in seed banks these are not accessible to the farmers. Ensuring genetic diversity requires that rice landraces are cultivated continuously, and not simply stored in seed banks. In view of a preferred shift towards organic cultivation, and consumers’ readiness to pay higher price for organically cultivated rice, the scope of traditional rice landraces has increased tremendously. Earlier HYVs enjoyed a distinct advantage, owing to their being fertilizer responsive, but under organic cultivation these are bound to lose the yield advantage. Therefore on-farm cultivation of landraces organically shall not only be a profitable economic enterprise for the farmer but would also lead to their conservation and adaptation. This process would be dynamic, i.e. the landraces would get subjected to continuous selection by the farmers, and would thus be allowed to develop and evolve.
The challenges in production of organic rice would however be in the form of ‘paddy blast’ and ‘weed growth’, both of which are currently controlled by chemical intervention.
5.5. Promotion of brown rice
As rice bran contains up to 20% lipids, this makes brown rice susceptible to rancidity. In earlier times, rancidity due to these rice lipids was prevented by removing the hull shortly before its consumption, and thus protecting it from oxidation. Rice (with bran) could then be stored for about 1 year, without leading to rancidity. Rice bran is characterized by high nutritional value. It contains high proportion (nearly 80%) of unsaturated fatty acids, which are known to have blood cholesterol lowering effects. The major unsaturated fatty acids in rice are oleic acid (a monounsaturated acid) and linoleic acid (an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid), and these are not synthesized in humans and therefore need to be taken from outside. These lipids play important roles in cell membrane function and functioning of the nervous system. The consumers’ preference for milled rice has further reduced the availability of iron and zinc substantially in their diet. The variability in mineral content among different rice landraces of Kashmir is quite pronounced, with zinc content ranging between 30 and 80 mg/kg and iron content between 16 and 55 mg/kg.
The current prevalence of milled rice on the market reduces the rice’s nutritional value and essentially turns it into a simple carbohydrate food. Therefore, in addition to developing more nutritious varieties, awareness of the benefits of eating brown rice should be raised among rice consumers. Such a combined approach would ultimately result in a sustainable enhancement of the essential nutrient supply in rice-based diets.
5.6. Gene mining using genomics and biotechnological approaches
Rice is a diverse crop that grows in different ecosystems. Genomics-based strategies for gene discovery, coupled with the validation of transgenes by genetic transformation, have accelerated the identification of candidate genes from this broad genetic diversity. It is therefore important to explore landraces as well as wild rice species, and characterize their genes for further use rather than storing them in gene banks. Current gene revolution has broadened the scope for the application of biotechnology in rice, across ecosystems and genetic barriers. In order to prevent biopiracy policymakers should look into the potential use of biotechnology in safeguarding intellectual property rights of rice farmers and scientists by promotion of finger-printing technologies for molecular characterization of rice germplasm.
With accumulation of genes from a few elite parental lines in the current generation rice varieties, the genetic base has plateaued leading to comparatively lower genetic gains over the existing high yielding varieties. The primary attention of converging genes for yield and yield component traits needs to be diversified. Grain quality and physiological traits like cold tolerance, thermosensitivity, source-sink relationship and harvest index, lodging resistance, better nutrient absorption, efficient number of productive tillers per hill, etc. have not been explored biotechnologically to generate meaningful results for higher and sustainable crop yields in rice under Kashmir conditions.
5.7. Combining high yields with high nutritional value through molecular breeding and biotechnology
The immense genetic diversity in rice landraces is reflected by their multiplicity of nutritional characteristics. Suitable rice varieties exist for enhancing the supply of various nutrients, including protein, essential lipids, certain minerals, and to some extent β- carotene also. The diversity of such favorable nutritional characteristics is not represented in most of the widespread HYVs currently prevailing in Kashmir. These HYVs have been developed mainly to optimize the quantitative yields, and not the nutritional value. The high nutritional quality of rice landraces can form a solid base for changing priorities in rice breeding, putting more emphasis on the grain nutritional value. In order to meet the targets of nutritional security and food security, biotechnology and molecular breeding techniques, like marker-assisted selection, marker-assisted backcrossing, and genetic transformation need to be employed for accelerating the development of more nutritious rice varieties. Combining high yields and high grain nutritional value thus appears to be possible through these molecular interventions.
The lead author expresses his gratitude to the Fellow Scientists (Prof. G.A. Parray, Dr. M. Anwar Bhat, Dr. Gulzar S. Sanghera, Dr. Subhash Kashyap, Dr. Ashaq Hussain, Dr. Asif Shikari, Dr. M.A. Mantoo and Dr. Manzoor A. Ganai) for their support, and wishes to express appreciation for the supporting staff of PBG Section (Haji Gh M. Bhat (TA), Mohd Shaban (FCLA), Gh Nabi Dar (FCLA) etc.) for always carrying out instructions with sincerity and dedication.