Countries should promote climate-resilient crop varieties as climate change becomes a reality, the director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said.
“Climate change is real. These unusual rainfalls are going to become a common occurrence. So we have to be prepared. An important step in our preparation is the development and use of climate-adapted varieties that our institute is working on. They have developed And released such varieties. So these will help maintain or stabilize the production for the next few years,” Pathak told reporters after the inauguration of various new facilities at IIHR in Bengaluru.
Unstable rainfall patterns
The ongoing Sharif crop season has been affected by erratic rainfall patterns, with rainfall deficits seen in several parts of the country. “Although there is still a gap, judging from the planting area, most of it has been filled.” Pathak said.
Over the past few years, Pathak said, ICAR has been able to develop climate-adapted varieties such as rice. “We have drought-tolerant varieties. Our request to the state government and other agencies is to promote these varieties,” Pathak said.
“So, our intention is to promote these varieties. At the same time, we are promoting biofortified varieties. In horticultural crops, we have a large number of these weather-resistant and biofortified varieties. So our farmers need to adopt more and more of these varieties. climate-adapted breeds,” he added.
The climate-adapted rice varieties can tolerate drought for 18-20 days compared with common varieties. “Similarly, we have varieties of rice that are resistant to flooding. Our new varieties can remain fully submerged for 18-20 days, but once the flood water recedes, they will survive and return to normal within 10 days, and farmers will be able to harvest 80 -85% crop,” Pathak said.