With climate change becoming real, States should promote the climate resilient crop varieties, said Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

“Climate change is real. These abnormalities of rainfall are going to be a regular phenomenon. Therefore, we have to be prepared. One important step in preparation is development and use of climate resilient varieties for which our institutes are working. They have already developed and released such varieties. So those are going to be contributing to maintaining or stabilising the production in the years to come.” Pathak told reporters after inaugurating various new facilities at IIHR, Bengaluru.

Erratic rainfall pattern

The ongoing kharif cropping season has been influenced by the erratic rainfall pattern with several parts of the country witnessing deficit rains. “Though there is still deficit, so far the area under cultivation goes, most of the things have been made up.” Pathak said.

Pathak said in the last few years, ICAR has been able to develop the climate resilient varieties such as rice. “We have got varieties which are tolerant to drought. Our request to State government and other agencies is to promote these kinds of varieties,” Pathak said.

“So, our intention is to promote those kinds of varieties. At the same time, we are promoting bio-fortified varieties. In the horticulture crops, we have good number of such climate resistant and bio-fortified varieties. So, our farmers need to adopt more and more such kind of climate resilient varieties,” he added.

The climate resilient rice varieties can tolerate drought conditions for 18-20 days more compared to the normal varieties. “Similarly, we have rice varieties which are tolerant to flooding. Our new varieties can remain under full submergence for 18-20 days, still they will survive once the flood water recedes and within 10 days it will come up and farmers will be able to harvest 80-85 percent of the crop.” Pathak said.