‘Biotechnology is an efficient scientific solution to increase crop productivity, enhance income for small farmers’

William D. Dar, Director General of International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has said that biotechnology will pay an indispensable role in empowering the rural sector by helping increasing the food production multi-fold to meet the needs.

Speaking at a workshop organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Friday, Dr. Dar said biotechnology was an efficient scientific solution to increase crop productivity, to enhance income for small farmers and to improve nutrition in developing countries such as India.

“India is facing a paradoxical situation where it has over 60 million tonnes of foodgrain reserves on one hand and about 42 per cent of the country’s children are malnourished on the other due to lack of nutritious food,” he observed. There was a need to overcome such a strange situation, he felt by stressing the need to move beyond Bt cotton and embrace GM food crops, which could contribute the fight against poverty enormously.

Project Director of National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology P. Anand Kumar said two golden rice varieties with vitamin-A -- Swarna and Jaya would be tested in open fields in 2013 and the Bt pigeon pea and chickpea would be released for field trials in 3-4 years.

Dinesh Kumar of Directorate of Oilseeds Research, S. Sivakumar of ITC Agribusiness Division, S.V.R. Rao of Nuziveedu Seeds and several others spoke.