Chinese expert sharing experience in protecting rice from flood

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Sep 8, 2022

LAHORE, Sept. 8 (Gwadar Pro)- Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan’s survival. Approximately 50% of the country’s cotton, rice, sesame seeds, tomatoes and peppers were devastated as a large area of land was inundated due to severe flooding caused by recent heavy monsoon rains.

Rice is Pakistan’s second largest food crop and an important foreign exchange earner. Remediating and managing rice after heavy rains and floods is pivotal to maintaining the country’s food security.

More than 55,000 square kilometers’land in Pakistan has been or is under water as a result of the floods. Sindh province has received 467% more rain than the average for this time of one year in the past 30 years, and southern Pakistan has been the hardest hit. Pakistan’s rice is mainly grown in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab.

In Pakistan, the planting area of hybrid rice is relatively large, reaching 30% of the average annual rice planting area of 240 hectares. Industry insidersestimated that the rate of the area of hybrid riceaffected by the current flooding is probably more than 40%.

Long Chunjiu, Chief Scientist of Longping South Asia Seed R&D Centre, who has over 10 years experience in breeding and cultivating hybrid rice in Pakistan, said in a recent interview with Gwadar Pro that the climate in Pakistan this year is abnormal.

“The temperature from March to June is much higher than that of previous years, and the heavy rainfall lasts from July to the end of August, which is disadvantageous to the growth of crops. In addition to the decline in yield, the taste, nutrition and other qualities of rice will also be affected,” he added.

Based on his experience considering the local situation, Long Chunjiu summarized a set of rice flood response measures with Chinese characteristics.

“First, divert floodwaters to areas with less rain to maximize crop growth. Second, in the severely affected areas, rice varieties with shorter growing periods and other crops such as sugarcane or vegetables should be replanted as soon as possible. Third, find right ways to solving problems specifically,” he said.

“The sowing time of rice this year is about a month later than that in previous years. As a result, compared with cotton and other crops, rice is less affected by the flood as most of the rice is still in the vegetative growth stage. If the flooding time is not very long, they should drain and spray fungicides promptly, and apply fertilizers in time after the growth of new leaves; if the affected rice is in the late stage of young panicle differentiation to head stage, it is required to drain and spray fungicides as soon as possible; mature rice needs to be harvested, and some of the losses can be recovered by planting other crops,” Long explained.

Hybrid rice has excellent characteristics such as flood resistance, lodging resistance and strong recovery, while the local varieties are more easy to lodge along the ground, and it is difficult to recover after lodging. Long is confident that the yield and output value of hybrid rice will be relatively superior compared with other crops in the harvest season.

In addition to sharing experience with local enterprises and farmers, the R&D Center also mobilized local Chinese people and enterprises to donate money and materials. “With the all-out efforts of people from all walks of life in both China and Pakistan, Pakistan will surely overcome the floods at an early date and get back on the fast track of economic development,” Long concluded.

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