New Delhi, July 19: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) through its 101 institutes/ deemed universities and 79 All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs) is engaged in conducting basic and applied research to cater the needs of farmers across the country. Minister of State for Agriculture, Sudarshan Bhagat in Lok Sabha today said that the agricultural research needs of the country are being catered through National Agricultural Research System (NARS) which comprise Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Central Agricultural Universities, State Agricultural Universities and Central/ State Universities having agriculture faculty.Minister of State for Agriculture, Sudarshan Bhagat in Lok Sabha today said that the agricultural research needs of the country are being catered through National Agricultural Research System (NARS) which comprise Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Central Agricultural Universities, State Agricultural Universities and Central/ State Universities having agriculture faculty.
Bhagat stated that the NARS has developed 261 varieties of field crops and provided 2.3 lakh quintal breeder seeds during last three years (2012-13 to 2014-15). During 2016, another 164 varieties of field crops have been notified. Early maturing and thermo-tolerant crop varieties with higher nutrient and water use efficiency for newer niches and cropping systems have been developed and released for cultivation. The NARS in association with Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DoAC&FW) made available 347.31, 351.77 and 343.52 lakh quintals of certified/ quality seeds during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively, to the farmers.
Moreover, India is currently producing more than 283 million tonnes of horticulture produce from an area of 24.3 million ha. Over the last decade, the area under horticulture has risen by 3.8 % per annum and production by 7.6 % per annum. Cost effective novel cane node technology and quality tissue culture seedling material in sugarcane, high density planting in cotton, quality seed production and microbial retting in jute, broad bed-furrow planting technology in soybean, direct seeded rice and resource conservation technologies in wheat have been developed and demonstrated. Molecular markers for cultivar identification in cotton, rice, sorghum, pearl millet, wheat, maize, mungbean, and urdbean were developed.
The Minister stated that the genomes of two important pulse crops of India viz. chickpea and pigeon pea and cereal crop wheat have been successfully decoded. By adopting a path of science-led growth of its agriculture, India reaped dividends in the form of a strong, self-reliant and resilient food security situation. The spectacular achievements in the agricultural sector are attributable in large measure to technology-led improvements in agricultural productivity and investments in R & D in agriculture & allied sectors and effective pursuit of improved technologies by farmers.
Several pest management practices involving eco-friendly biological control methods like pheromones and release of parasites and predators are being used for pesticide free harvest by the farming community. Also cotton ginning sector is modernized through Technology Mission on Cotton (Mini Mission IV) and as a result, the country is able to produce cotton bales with a low trash content (less than 3 per cent trash).