South Asian Forum for Environment

Indigenous Rice Seed Bank in Sundarbans

Climate change induced tropical cyclones and extreme environmental events has turned the Indian Sundarbans most vulnerable, leading to habitat and biodiversity loss. Parallel to that many locally adaptive and resilient varieties of rice land races have become decimated due to the advent of the high yielding and hybrid varieties of grains during green revolution. Fifty-four indigenous rice land races which have been collected from various agro ecological regions of India, especially Sundarbans, are preserved in the climate research centre of SAFE in Tipligheri village in Sundarbans, as in-situ community seed banks and that has been subjected to plot experiments in areas affected by super cyclones Amphan in 2020 and Yaas in 2021, in Sundarbans.

Selective agronomic characters are recorded at various phases of growth of these rice plants and yield from the individual plots and yield potentials were noted. It has been found that 66% of the rice grains belong to slender quality like Dadshal, an aromatic rice land race or Tulsimukul variety while thirty-seven (37) varieties of rice land races have flowered between 90-100 days after transplantation. It has been found out that tallest varieties have the highest yield and highest submergence tolerance during coastal flooding. Presently these seeds have also been distributed to the farmers from this traditional seed bank to augment seed resilience at community level that also ensures community preparedness and food security. Nearly 10 hectares of land has been brought under organic farming of paddy with these seeds. SAFE has plans to enhance the capacity of the seed bank and as well develop a digital genome library of the same. More details are available here below