Four new varieties of seeds, two each in wheat and barley, developed by the Agriculture Research Station (ARS) at Durgapura near here, have been approved for country-wide introduction.
The All-India Wheat & Barley Improvement Research Worker’s meet, which concluded here the other day, approved a total of 10 varieties developed by various research stations after rejecting 22 others taken up for consideration. Wheat varieties Raj. 4229 and Raj.4238, developed by ARS, passed the muster this time while two of its barley varieties — RD 2786 and RD 2794 — were selected for the current season.
Senior ARS Durgapura breeder Mahesh Shrimali said Raj.4229 was suitable for North-East plains, while Raj.4238 was suitable for the central agro climatic zone. Between the chosen barley varieties, RD 2786 is ideal for the central zone, while RD 2794 is meant for saline soil.
Plant scientists at ARS Durgapura consider this as a major breakthrough as getting approval for release of any new variety of seed is considered a big task. Each variety undergoes trials and experimentation for seven years before it is taken up for consideration.
ARS Durgapura is credited with developing an improved variety of Lal Bahadur , which was instrumental in high wheat production during the Green Revolution. Wheat varieties which received approval this time include HP 349, WH 1105 and WHD 948. A front runner in barley research, the ARS Durgapura is credited with varieties including dwarf barley (RDB-1), saline resistant barley (BL-2), nematode resistant barley (Rajkiran and RD 2032), and high yielding, (RD 2552), malt quality (RD 2503 and RD 2668), dual purpose (for grain & green fodder) RD 2715.
About 400 wheat and barley scientists from within the country and outside participated in the meet, organised jointly by Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University and Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Norman Borlaug associate Raja Ram and Arun Joshi of International Institute CIMMYT, Nepal, besides former Indian Council of Agricultural Research Director-General R.S. Paroda were also present.
Dr. Paroda and other senior wheat experts exhorted the scientist community to take up the challenge of reaching 100 million tonne wheat production by 2015. “The target looks more realistic with the country achieving 94 million tonne production this year.”
“It can be 120 million tonne in the next 15-20 years. Biologically it is feasible,” Dr. Ram supported the argument. “Indian gene programme is the largest in the world. What we need is more investment in the sector.”