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Updated: September 11, 2012 02:41 IST

Hybrid rice to be grown in 5 million hectares: Ayyappan

Special Correspondent
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S. Ayyappan, Director-General, ICAR
The Hindu
S. Ayyappan, Director-General, ICAR

ICAR Director-General says India needs to produce up to 2 million tonnes of rice to feed the teeming millions

India, a country that comes second after China in rice cultivation with 44 million hectares under rice, plans to increase the acreage under hybrid rice to 5 million hectares from the current 2 million hectares.

Research goals

Speakers at the 6 International Hybrid Rice Symposium here on Monday said the country needed to produce 1.5 million to 2 million tonnes of rice more every year to feed the teeming millions in the next 15 to 20 years. Enhanced yields, input use efficiency and profitability were the immediate research goals, they said.

Director-General, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), S. Ayyappan said steps were being taken to popularise hybrid technology in the future years. Focus was needed on developing long-duration hybrid rice for coastal areas and quality hybrid variety for southern India, he added.

Director-General of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Robert S. Zeigler said there was a need to develop hybrid technology that was based on local varieties than by mere adoption of Chinese hybrids, considering the geographical factors. “Hybrids for the environment and quality demands of South and South East Asia countries must be developed by building on local varieties,” he stressed.

Union Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said that with the gradual but harsh effects of climate change taking its toll on food security, hybrid technology was a sure option to overcome the impact of climate change on agriculture in the country.

Earlier, Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana, who inaugurated the symposium said 59 hybrid rice varieties were released in India, of which 31 were from the public and 28 were from the private sector.

He recalled that several private companies were now working with ICAR on hybrid rice research. Pointing out that A.P. was the first to release APP RH 1 and 2, two hybrid rice varieties for commercial cultivation, he said good hybrid varieties were in the pipeline.

Own variety

ICAR’s Deputy Director-General (Crop Science) Swapan K Datta also emphasised the need for developing locally-adoptable and popular varieties while developing hybrids. “Every Indian State had its own variety that came with distinctly different taste and flavour,” he stated.

Hybrid rice, though practically difficult to produce seeds, have the potential of yielding much higher compared to conventional varieties. A comprehensive strategy of planned seed production involving State Govt., University and farmers and an effective distribution mechanism of produced F1 seeds to the farmers identified in the prospective rice growing areas at right point of time would definitely help in achieving a realizable food front.

from:  M Kumar
Posted on: Sep 13, 2012 at 10:38 IST

Almost all the hybrid seeds come with stringent requirements of manure and
pesticides. This in increases the production cost at no benefit in the selling price.
Also, constant manuring and applying of pesticides, spoil the land and the grain to
some degree as well. On top of this, most of those hybrid seeds cannot be saved. So
the farmer has to run to the store to buy seeds every season. In name of feeding
everyone, this is spoiling the farmer who produces. If this is the plight, who will
farm? This doesn't mean the government should increase the price for hybrid
varieties to give an incentive to grow hybrid seeds. I am saying, educate farmers to
grow native varieties well with good water management and educate people that
long, thin, milk white rice is the best breed of rice. Grow these hybrids only in areas
where traditional varieties cannot be grown.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Sep 12, 2012 at 20:00 IST

Are hybrid varieties absolutely safe for consumption? I request The
Hindu to shed more light on this.

from:  Swaminathan S
Posted on: Sep 11, 2012 at 16:56 IST

Good idea! India needs it for the said purpose but who will take care of
the distribution-process? When the PDS is in such a mess, can any one
say that this is a realistic idea in a country where the politicians,
industrial capitalists and the bureaucrats (from top to bottom) are
corrupt to the core?

from:  Tony
Posted on: Sep 11, 2012 at 14:08 IST

Area under hybrid rice is below 5-7 percent in India due to non availability of seed,high cost of seed and widening gap between researchers,extension personal and farmers,dwindling water availability,pests and diseases,shortage of labour and above all MSP just to meet cost of cultivation.China has all the rice growing area under hybrids and their total production is significantly high,productivity being 7-10 tones / ha.Rice is the staple food in China and several value added products are made.Japan is the only country where traditional paddy is only grown and high subsidy extended.If hybrid rice which are less water requiring,resistant to pests and diseases are made available ,it will help farmers to grow hybrid rice.

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Sep 11, 2012 at 10:12 IST
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