KOLKATA, 14 FEB: In the wake of climate change and skewed rainfall patterns, the Union ministry of agriculture has initiated a project to develop technologies for enhancing resilience of Indian crops, livestock and fisheries.
However, West Bengal, facing droughts last year, is less likely to be included in the project. With a budget outlay of Rs 350 crore, state-of-the-art research facilities will come up at various research institutes, except in West Bengal, for developing adaptation and mitigation strategies. Union minister for agriculture and food processing industries Mr Sharad Pawar launched the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture during the annual general meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research Society (ICAR). Seven major research institutes of the Council will work together to formulate ways of implementing technologies. The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad, will act as the lead center.
Mr Swapan Kumar Dutta, deputy director general of crop science division of ICAR, said it was the need of the hour to develop seeds that would survive floods, droughts and high carbon emission. India has a huge collection of germ plasm, domestic and imported from abroad. Several germ plasms have genes and traits that could survive climatic variability due to climate changes.He said that that there are certain varieties of germ plasm that are resilient to climate change but have a low yield. “During the breeding programme, their genes would be cloned and introduced in the high-yielding varieties to ensure better production. It is a great step towards food security that has been threatened in recent times,” he added. On being asked why West Bengal would not have any such research institute, Mr Dutta refused to answer. However, another official of the department sarcastically said that “the state needs nothing. West Bengal’s agricultural policy is beyond our understanding,” he added.