Rice is a major staple food for over 3 billion people, representing the major carbohydrate and even protein source in South Eastern Asia, but also in Africa. Unfortunately, rice is a poor source of many essential micronutrients. Thus, a rice-based diet is the primary cause of micronutrient malnutrition throughout much of the developing world. Iron, zinc, and vitamin A deficiencies are common in rice-consuming regions. These deficiencies account for decreased work productivity, reduced mental capacity, stunting, blindness, increased child mortality, and elevated morbidity and mortality in general. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to study the performance of seven improved rice varieties introduced in the Eastern Himalayan Region of India with a local variety considering yield, grain quality for human nutrition and economic benefit under lowland condition. The highest grain yield was recorded in paddy variety, RC Maniphou 7 (5.3 t ha-1) followed by RC Maniphou 11 (5.2 t ha-1) over the indigenous paddy variety, Daramphou. These paddy varieties recorded 81 and 79% higher grain yield over the local variety and found to be highest profitable as compare to the other variety under the study. However, the grain nutritive value was found to be higher in the paddy variety RC Maniphou-5 followed by RC Maniphou-4. So, agronomic biofortification of rice with micronutrient might be an effective component of a food system strategy to reduce micronutrient malnutrition in rice eating populations. Evaluation of regression factor scores through principal component analysis using grain yield, grain quality and economic benefit has proved the superiority of RC Maniphou-7, RC Maniphou-10 and RC Maniphou-11 over the other improved and local varieties for the foothills of eastern Himalayan region.
Key words: Rice, yield, grain quality, economic benefit.
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