Agri Business

Support to farmers, R&D seen crucial to raising wheat output

Dharwad | Updated on February 10, 2011


Good support to research and development (R&D), active farmers' participation is needed for wheat productivity enhancement under changing global climate.

Speaking at the third international group meet on wheat productivity enhancement under the changing global climate, Dr Sanjay Rajaram, Director - Wheat, CIMMYT, Mexico, said: “Agricultural productivity which is reducing at an alarming rate due to fluctuating climates has to be addressed with quality research and better policy decisions by the policy makers.”

“The current rate of agricultural productivity of one per cent has to be increased to 1.25 per cent to match the food supply demands of the growing population,” he added.

Indian farmers require a lot of support, both by the Government and agriculture universities.

“Farmers training needs a lot of money; it is here private sector can pitch in with its resources. The private sector can also pitch in with new science, biotech tools and convergence of technologies,” said Dr Rajaram.

Productivity

India, dependent on rainfed conditions, currently grows 80 million tonnes in 27 billion hectares.

Productivity is three tonnes a hectare. There is potential to increase yield to 3.6 to 3.7 tonnes a hectare by adopting food farm practices.

Dr Rajaram said: “China has 4.5 tonnes a hectare, Egypt seven tonnes – both countries grow wheat in water deltas.

France (has 6.5 tonnes a hectare), the US (3 tonnes), Australia, South Africa and Argentina grow the crop in rainfed conditions and average around 3 to 5 tonnes.”

Dr Ronnie Coffman, Co-Chairman, Borlaugh Rust Initiative, Cornell University of the US, speaking after inaugurating the meet said Cornell University is extending support by way of student, staff exchange and dual degree programmes.

Developing quality wheat

“High yielding stress tolerant wheat cultivars have to be developed with suitable molecular engineering methods as tools to meet the demand of food supply apart from developing a strong linkage from farm to scientist,” opined Dr Hans J. Braun, Director-Wheat, CIMMYT, Mexico.

He added that CIMMYT is extending full support in this direction to the university for developing quality wheat.

Wise plans

Dr S. Nagarajan, former Director, IARI, stressed that scientists have to gear up to the changing agricultural situation in India and suitable region-wise plans have to be developed for improved production.

Dr S.S. Singh, Project Director, Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, highlighted the activities of wheat research in India and said that the future perspectives in wheat research would be on developing rust resistant, stress tolerable quality wheat varieties.

Dr R.R. Hanchinal, Vice-Chancellor, UAS, Dharwad, Organising Secretary of the meet and also a wheat breeder, said that UAS, Dharwad, is in the forefront in development of varieties suitable for stress and disease tolerance.

He also expressed his gratitude towards collaboration being extended by the reputed international organisations such as Cornell University, US, CIMMYT, Mexico, for training manpower.

Published on February 10, 2011

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