In a sign of the strength of India’s public research institutions, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) released seven new varieties of field crops including wheat, rice, chickpea, pigeon pea and mustard and identified 11 varieties of high-yielding agricultural and horticultural produce during 2015.
All these varieties are not just resilient to several biotic (living organism like pests and insects) and abiotic (nonliving factors like light, temperature and water) stresses but also have enhanced nutritional quality.
IARI, the flagship institute of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), announced the release and identification of these varieties during its 54th convocation in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday.
These varieties include the newly-developed pigeon pea (arhar dal) and mustard which have early maturity and high yielding properties. Both are considered quite important as they can help in reducing India’s import bills of pulses and edible oils in the long run.
Since India’s current annual import bills on pulses and edible oils are Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 56,000 crore respectively, the focus of public research institutions has been on developing varieties which can fill the huge demand-supply gap.
Mustard-30) developed by IARI scientists will not only increase productivity but will also be beneficial for health as it has low erucic acid. Higher erucic acid content leads to diseases like myocardial fibrosis in adults and lipidosis in children.