Associated Breeding Works with the Green Revolution

To stabilize the initial success, there were some immediate tasks in intensive farming, as well as new attempts to improve rice in marginal areas.

First, breeding for resistance to diseases and insect pests was urgent, because the adoption of intensive rice farming, particularly of rice cultivation in the dry season, provoked an outbreak of pests and diseases which had been only minor problems in traditional systems. Breeding for resistance has been successful in wide areas, and by and large it has protected the gains from the improved plant type.

Second, some resources were allocated to genetic improvement of varieties in marginal areas, which the green revolution had bypassed due to deep water, adverse soils or drought. The author was once assigned to such areas of breeding as tolerance to adverse soils, resistance to blast disease and deep water rice. But progress in these areas was not significant due to limited time, lack of scientific means and social structures, which can still be seen in the northeastern states of India. Often, the target environments are too variable to set any clear focus. Any gain expected is assumed to be marginal, even if some success is achieved.

Third, improvement of grain quality is another area where steady progress has been attained. But there is a tendency for the market pressure for high quality to constrain breeders' effort toward a higher level of yield. A decline in productivity of rice is indicated in some areas of intensive rice production. The reason for this still remains for scientific analysis. A part of this decline may be attributed to the grain quality issue. For instance, Basmati 370 and Khaw dawk mali 105, reputed varieties for high market price but with low yielding capacity, have extensively been planted to wide areas in Myanmar, Thailand and other countires.

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