BackSociety » Environment » Amid Climate Change Threats, a Strain of Asian 'Floating Rice' Might Hold the Answer

As Southeast Asian countries struggle to adapt to the mounting challenges brought about by climate change, a potential solution has "floated" to the surface.

That solution is “floating rice,” a traditional strain of grain developed in low-lying regions of Southeast Asia that routinely face heavy flooding. The rice, recently featured in a segment by Channel News Asia, was once a staple in the diet of farmers in regions like the Mekong Delta.

Its advantages? Unlike other strains, “floating rice” can grow in deep-water thanks to a stem that lengthens to follow rising water upwards. While submerged, it's protected from pests, eliminating the need for pesticides. The result is a sustainably grown, organic product with promising market potential.

“Floating rice grows with floods,” Than Bunthorn, a traditional farmer of the deepwater rice, told Channel News Asia.

“It grows well when water rises,” he said, adding that it requires less attention than dry-season varieties.

While it seems to be a perfect answer to the region's agricultural challenges like flooding and an overzealous dependence on pesticides, the future of floating rice is unclear. In Southeast Asia, one of the world’s major rice producing regions, it’s hard to imagine a day when those traits alone will triumph over high-yield dry-season varieties.

At three times the price of its competitors, the only niche for floating rice could very well be in eco-tourism—or in storm-battered regions where the cash-crop varieties have become nonviable.

[Photo via Mekong Eye]

Related Articles:

Tet Tales: The Many Folk Stories Behind Vietnam's Sticky Rice Cakes

- Solving Vietnam's Trash Problem One Moving Truck at a Time

- Southeast Asia's Fondness of Air-Conditioning Is Putting Strains on Local Environment

Related Articles

in Environment

1,300 Pine Trees in National Park Damaged in Illegal Resin Theft

Resin rapscallions pilfered from hundreds of pine trees in Tam Dao National Park.

in Environment

163 New Species Discovered in Southeast Asia: WWF Report

Good news for Southeast Asia's wildlife enthusiasts: scientists just announced that, in 2015, they discovered 163 new species in the Greater Mekong region.

in Environment

2 Bicyclists Set To Ride From Saigon To Paris To Raise Awareness Of Climate Change

On Thursday February 12, Simon Nelson and Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will set off on a bicycle ride from Saigon to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) in order t...

in Environment

22 Photos That Reveal How Bad Pollution Has Become In China

While pollution is becoming a serious problem in Vietnam with reports of cancer villages and toxic canals popping up the press recently, we live in a natural utopia compared with the residents of Chin...

in Environment

3 Endangered Langurs Were Released Back Into the Wild in Ninh Binh

The trio of critically endangered Delacour's langurs (voọc mông trắng) had been at a conservation center in Cuc Phuong National Park.

in Environment

40 Dead Tiger Cubs Discovered in Tiger Temple Freezer

Last Wednesday, authorities made a grisly discovery while shutting down Thailand's controversial Tiger Temple, recovering 40 dead tiger cubs from an on-site freezer.

Partner Content