The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), apex body for agricultural research in India, has developed 596 high yielding climate resilient crop varieties/ hybrids of field crops for cultivation in different agro-climatic zones of the country during past 3 years.
Replying to a query in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Sudarshan Bhagat said, during 2016-17 alone, 313 field crop varieties, 51 horticultural crop varieties, 51 new farm implements, 3 vaccines, 15 diagnostic kits and breeding technology for two new fish species have been developed. Nutrient rich (zinc, iron, protein) varieties such as DRR Dhan 45 (18.18 ppm Zinc) and CRR Dhan 310 (10.3 percent protein) of rice; WB-2 (42 PPM Zinc and 40 PPM Fe) and HPBW-01 (40.6 PPM Zinc and 40.6 Fe) of wheat, Pusa Mustard 30 (zero erucic acid) and Pusa Mustard 31 (Double zero) of Indian mustard have been developed.
He said, rice variety IR-64 Drt-1 (DRR Dhan 42) resistant to drought and Samba Sub-1 tolerant to submergence has been developed. IPM 205-7 (Virat), an extra-early (52-55 days) maturing summer mungbean variety, first-of-its-kind globally have been developed. Being short duration variety, it will help in increasing the cropping intensity and diversify the rice-wheat cropping system. Pusa Basmati 1609, Pusa Basmati 1509, Pusa Basmati 1637 and Pusa Basmati 1728 have been developed by using new biotechnological tools.
As many as 219 new prototypes for farm machinery and new farm implements have been developed over the period, 51 agro processing centres are established; and 16,500 units of multiplied prototypes are supplied, in the frontier areas of agricultural engineering with great potential to increase productivity, reduce cost of cultivation, reduce drudgery, improve value addition, conserve resources, provide alternate means for energy generation, the Minister said.
The production potential of new technologies of pulses is demonstrated, oilseed and other crops through 3.21 lakh frontline demonstrations are made in the farmers’ field. Skill development of 40.9 lakh farmers and rural youth imparted. ICAR with its research institutes have produced and provided 8.79 lakh quintal seed, 12.52 crore planting materials and 9.09 crore livestock strains and fingerlings to farmers. It also provided agro mobile advisory to 3.95 crore farmers for improved decision-making, Bhagat added.
The apex agricultural research organisation with the support of research institutes established 150 pulses seed hubs to produce quality seeds of important pulse crops and production of additional quantity of breeder seed of different pulses was undertaken to attain self-sufficiency in pulses over the period. It has established 38 on-station Integrated Farming System (IFS) models and refined 63 existing IFS in 14 agro-climatic regions, he said in the Parliament.
ICAR has set targets, both for short and long term, by providing technology back up for achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income. Targets for next 2 years include, evaluation of 20,000 germplasm and breeding lines and conservation of 4,000 germplasm for long term storage, conservation of 200 microbial genetic resources, to identify 30 genotypes and register for unique traits, clone and characterise 10 genes, testing 2,000 entries in AICRP multi-location trials, identification of 40 varieties including pulses and oilseeds by All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP) varietal identification committees, production of 56,000 quintal breeder seed, developing and testing 25 new technologies, conducting 10,000 front line demonstrations and organising 220 farmers’ trainings, Bhagat informed the Parliament.
Further replying the query, the Minister said in the Lok Sabha, in horticulture sciences, targets for next 2 years include, collection of 400 germplasms and characterisation of 500 germplasms, development of 100 pre-breeding lines, identification of 60 promising/elite breeding lines, release of 30 varieties/hybrids, standardisation of 50 production technologies, organisation of 155 frontline demonstrations, developing 167 modules for capacity building of farmers and other stakeholders, production of 2,261 kg breeders/truthfully levelled seed, production of 2,250 tonne breeders seed of tuber crops and production of 12.5 lakh quality planting materials and 5 lakh rooted cuttings.
Targets have also been set for soil inventory and characterisation, designing and developing of organic farming package of practices, designing, developing and demonstration of climate resilient technologies, designing and developing technologies for managing soil health and designing, developing and testing of 3 technologies for irrigation water management. The apex body has set separate targets for animal sciences, fisheries sciences, agricultural engineering, agricultural education and agricultural extension also, Bhagat counted the achievements.
All these targeted activities are likely to increase the production and productivity of agricultural crops and other enterprises, add value to the produce, reduce cost of production and increase profit margins for the farmers, the Minister added.