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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
New rice strain 'survives floods'
By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Dhaka

Farm worker in Bangladesh, BBC
Bangladesh consumes around two million tonnes of rice a month
Researchers in Bangladesh say that a new strain of rice may be able to withstand the floods which wreak havoc there every year.

Researchers at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute say that the rice type, called Swarna Submergence One, can survive up to two weeks in water.

Every year, about one-fifth of Bangladesh disappears beneath the monsoon rain waters.

The floods cause huge destruction to the country's staple crop.


The government reckons that this year's floods - the worst in years - have so far caused losses worth up to $290m, hurting rural communities and pushing up food prices in the cities.

Scientists at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute say that the new strain survived the recent floods.

The institute's Director of Research, MA Salaam, told the BBC that Swarna Submergence One type rice plants they were growing on two farms in northern Bangladesh lasted more than 10 days under water.

Other rice types might benefit from being submerged for two to three days, but after any longer, they begin to die.

The new strain, a high-yield variety invented in the Philippines, has obvious benefits.

Dr Salam said that next year, the test will be greatly expanded and if that too proves successful, the rice may then be made widely available.

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