Laos Develops Three New Rice Varieties with Assistance from Thailand

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On Friday, Laos announced the successful development of three new rice varieties that are expected to display increased resilience against climate change.

The new rice varieties were developed by the Research Institute for Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural Development in collaboration with the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research.

Developed over a 13-year period by Lao and Thai scientists, the tough new rice varieties have been named Hom Dorkkham 8, Hom Thadorkkham 15, and Home Xebangfai 4.

All three varieties of rice have a strong fragrance and they are all resistant to drought, floods, insects, and plant diseases.

In Laos, crop yields have been reduced by 10–20 percent as a result of floods and drought, which have limited the country’s ability to produce rice.

Scientists predict that the average global temperature will rise by 1 degree every ten years, meaning that global temperatures will rise by 8 degrees in the next 80 years.

Continued population growth is also an issue: it has caused a 50% drop in rice production across Asia, including Laos.

The three new rice varieties have been approved by the Research Institute for Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development as well as the the Agriculture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The organizations aim to increase farmers’ chances of a good harvest despite weather extremes.

Rice prices have increased sharply this year due to lockdowns and conflict.