Area of dry land will increase by 11 per cent, says ICRISAT expert

Climate change poses the most serious threat to agriculture world over and to the food security, with countries like India facing the most unfavourable crop prospects, according to Chief Operating Officer of NutriPlus Knowledge Programme of ICRISAT Saikatdatta Mazumdar.

Area of dry land would increase by 11 per cent in the coming years due to climate change;  1.8 billion people would live in countries with absolute water scarcity and the hardest hit would be the rain-fed agriculture which covers 96 per cent of all cultivated land in Sub-Sahara Africa, 87 per cent in South America and 61 per cent in Asia, and the climate variability would aggravate loss of land productivity,  Dr. Mazumdar said in his keynote address at a national seminar on sustainable food security and safety organised by GITAM University's Mircobiology and Food and Science Technology Department recently.

On the activities of ICRISAT, Dr. Mazumdar said that it had developed 610 crop varieties and hybrids which were released in 77 countries during the last four decades. ICRISAT was providing the knowledge, initial germ plasm and crop management practices to farmers. The crops improved by ICRISAT were important in ensuring food and nutritional security of more than 565 million poor people in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Recently, ICRISAT had introduced Agri Business Innovation Platform (AIP) to enhance its public-private partnerships and as a model for fostering agro-business to bring its R and D innovations and partners together to reach the market faster and for a more impact.

ICRISAT initiated an Agri Business Incubation (ABI) set-up in partnership with the Central Government's Department of Science and Technology (DST) to promote public-private partnerships. ABI would support business initiatives with a host of services and facilities in the area of technology commercialisation and new venture creation.

UGC member K.Ramamurhty Naidu, GITAM University Vice-Chancellor G. Subramanyam, Principal of Institute of Science N. Lakshmana Das, organising secretary of the seminar R. Gnana Prasuna, and convener L. Anitha participated.