Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, and Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. Ltd. (Mahyco) announced the achievement of a key milestone in the development of salt tolerant rice.

Arcadia's Salt Tolerance (ST) technology enables plants to produce increased yields under saline water and soil conditions, expanding the range of usable acreage for crop production and reducing requirements for fresh water.

In achieving this key milestone, Mahyco demonstrated that Arcadia’s ST technology significantly increased plant growth and yield in multiple rice lines developed by Mahyco. Rice varieties incorporating ST technology showed substantial increases in key plant performance measures.

Rice is the world’s second-largest crop, grown on 161 million hectares annually. It plays a critical role in food security for more than half of the world’s population. India, with a population of more than 1.2 billion, is the second most populous country in the world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 221 million people in India, or about one-fifth of the population, are undernourished. As such, there is significant pressure on Indian farmers to increase agricultural productivity.

“With the growing demands on fresh water and land resources for agriculture, the ability to maintain high crop yields in salt-impacted environments is critical,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences. “This key technology is just one of a number of improvements Arcadia and Mahyco are developing together to increase farm productivity and reduce the overall environmental impact of agriculture in the region,” he added.

"With this milestone, we are closer to bringing the benefits of this technology to the farmers who are challenged with increased salinity in their farms and improving the overall productivity of the crop," said Usha Zehr, chief technology officer of Mahyco.