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Focus on Marker-assisted breeding for better yield

 
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CCMB director says that ryots are using more quantity of fertilizers and pesticides

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Director Ch. Mohan Rao addressing a seminar on modern agriculture at Krushi Bhavan in Guntur on Saturday. — Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Director Ch. Mohan Rao addressing a seminar on modern agriculture at Krushi Bhavan in Guntur on Saturday. — Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Farmers can look forward to large-scale availability of seeds of non-hybrid crop varieties at cheaper prices in future as public-funded institutions are concentrating on developing straight varieties with the help of advanced techniques like Marker-assisted breeding (MAB) of plants which possess the desired genetic traits.

The Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) is in the forefront of bringing out new indigenous varieties through MAB which is a quick method of hybridising crops.

It has successfully developed some Samba Masuri’ strains of rice with the help of MAB and also took upon itself the task of distributing them to farmers with the government’s permission two years ago as a company in which it vested that responsibility cheated farmers.

The response to non-hybrid varieties being evolved by the CCMB has been encouraging and it is poised to diversify into production of seeds for other crops, said Director Ch. Mohan Rao.

Samba Masuri variety

Addressing a seminar on ‘Modern Agriculture- Quality Seeds’ organised here by Rythu Rakshana Vedika (RRV) on Saturday, Mr. Mohan Rao said the Samba Masuri variety developed by it was resistant to bacterial blight disease and the costs involved are far less compared to what a hybrid takes. Besides, the yields are comparable.

If the growing demand for food is to be met in the years ahead, such high-yielding varieties have to be not only developed in the laboratories but also taken to the fields where they could be multiplied by farmers and circulated among themselves.

Due emphasis has to be laid on organic farming which requires less quantities of fertilizers and pesticides.

Indian farmers are using huge quantities of these farm inputs more than the optimum levels, the consequences of which are bound to be catastrophic, Mr. Mohan Rao warned.

V. Chenga Reddy, Principal Scientist (Cotton) of the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) at Lam said some private seed companies were getting their hybrid varieties validated and passed by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee through dubious means.

Apart from this, some companies are recommending high density planting of hybrid varieties which was not found to be a viable alternative to ills plaguing the cotton crop.

RARS Associate Director R. Veera Raghavaiah, ANGRAU Scientist A.. Prasada Rao, RRV promoters N. Venugopala Rao and K. Raja Mohan, Jana Vignana Vedika State president K. Satya Prasad and others were present.


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