The Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) has developed an unique drought-resistant variety of paddy seed that can survive and produce crop even without water for over three weeks.

“The new seed is named ‘Sahabhagi’ The paddy seed got clearance of Central Variety Release Committee (CVRC) two days ago”, CRRI director T K Adhya told PTI.

Highlighting its drought-resistance characteristics, Mr. Adhya said the roots of Sahabhagi variety paddy can penetrate deeper into the soil enabling it to draw ground water.

“The new paddy seed can survive without water for over three weeks”, he said.

Though scientists had earlier developed a drought resistant paddy seed - “Kalinga”, this new type could produce 3.5 tonne of paddy per hectare.

‘Kalinga’ could generate maximum 2.5 tonne of paddy per hectare under suitable condition, he said.

The Sahabhagi seeds were being tested for the last three years before being released for commercial use, the CRRI director said.

Stating that Orissa was prone to natural calamities, Mr. Adhya claimed that the CRRI had already taken a lead role in developing rice varieties to tackle such adversity.

CRRI had developed 70 high yielding and hybrid seeds, including submergence tolerant and drought resistant varieties.

As eastern India shared 70 to 80 per cent of country’s rice production, E A Siddiq, visiting professor and ex-deputy director general (crop science), ICAR, New Delhi said paddy cultivation in the region play a key role in food security.

“Farming systems developed by CRRI scientists can give an annual income of more than Rs one lakh per hectare”, he said adding a farmer’s family could get employment for 270 to 300 days by adopting CRRI system.

CRRI also celebrated “Dhan Diwas” yesterday to mark the beginning of harvesting by farmers.

The farmers adopting CRRI technologies were felicitated at a function held at Cuttack.