Search site

Indian agricultural research institution partners learn more about speed breeding

Delegates from national agricultural research and extension system (NARES) in India recently gathered at the International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to learn about speed breeding-an emerging technology to quickly reduce the growth duration of rice crop and accelerate the development of rice varieties.

The workshop, organized by the Rice Breeding Innovation (RBI) Platform at IRRI ISARC, looked into the ongoing progress, challenges, and future perspectives of the newly established speed breeding facility called SpeedBreed in July.

The SpeedBreed Facility was inaugurated in December 2021. It uses a highly sophisticated, fully controlled, and automated breeding facility, where four to five generations of rice crops can be taken in a year against 1-3  generations under a normal condition. Rapid development of high yielding, climate resilient and nutrient-rich rice varieties through this facility can help Indian farmers to increase their income and be less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, ISARC Director, highlighted the recent progress made by different units of ISARC and emphasized the importance of SpeedBreed Facility. Singh further discussed how rapid generation advancement will allow scientists to develop and release a new variety within a short period of time.

Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Director and Vice-Chancellor ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) congratulated the whole RBI team for achieving 4-5 generations in a year. “The reduction in the breeding cycle will allow the breeder to quickly develop a new variety post abiotic/biotic stress epidemic and how this technology can be transferred to other important crops of India,” said Dr. A.K. Singh.

He also announced the significant progress of the SpeedBreed Facility paved the way for four new speed breeding facilities to be established soon at different research stations in India.

The integration of OneRice Breeding strategy and the development of a speed breeding working group were also discussed to further advance the output of this workshop. Dr. Sankalp Bhosale, Deputy Platform Leader-Rice Breeding Innovations and Research Unit Leader of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)  highlighted the importance of the OneIRRI breeding strategy and the need for an enhanced joint IRRI-NARES collaboration in the region.

“Speed Breeding is a new and exciting approach for faster breeding and is critical to be integrated in breeding efforts to enhance the rates of genetic gains in the breeding programs, ” he said.