The Director of C. G. Bhakta Institute of Biotechnology at the Uka Tarsadia University, India, Professor R. Krishnamurthy, has said that a new variety of rice being cultivated at the University of Ilorin that does not require soil with water holding capacity is capable is solving the current rice production challenges in the country.
Rice is ordinarily a water-loving grain, but the variety developed by the university would yield well per hectare without adequate water, making it drought-resistant and potentially adaptable to arid regions with scanty rainfalls.
Krishnamurthy, who was at the University of Ilorin on a visit to the Department of Plant Biology, said the rice plant requires minimum irrigation, adding that the maximum harvest time is 120 days.
He added that the medium-sized high yielding grain, which could be cultivated in most soil types available in the country, had great marketing value.
The visiting professor explained that the seed would be sold to students and farmers alike to encourage cultivation and provide jobs for the teeming population.
He said the university is working on other improved varieties of grain that are suitable to the available soil types in the country.
Receiving the visiting Professor in his office, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, commended the don for his work and expressed his delight over the cultivation of the high-yielding grain on the university campus.
The breakthrough is one of the benefits of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on March 19, 2013 between the University of Ilorin and Uka Tarsadia University, India.