Researching Resilience

The Issue: Flooded Farmland in Asia

Throughout Asia, flooding of rice paddies can cause crops to fail. As climate change intensifies rainstorms, farmers will need new growing methods.

The Strategy: Flood-tolerant Rice

Waterlogged fields will soon come alive with flood-tolerant rice. Researchers have found a way to modify rice genes so the plants can survive underwater.

Rice plants need water to grow, but they will drown if completely covered for a couple of days. Fields of flood-tolerant rice can thrive underwater for up to two weeks, giving crops a good chance of survival. The engineered grain may solve another problem: millions of more mouths to feed in the coming years as the population grows.

Rice is a staple food for about three billion people worldwide, and most of it is farmed in Asia. Crop loss due to flooding can devastate communities and, if widespread, disrupt the global market.