Fifty per cent of world's agricultural productivity was lost owing to ‘abiotic stresses' arising from atmosphere, soil, and water related phenomena. To counter it, there was a need to develop crops that could withstand them, said K. Vairavan, Dean, Agricultural College and Research Institute.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics on Thursday, he said that the seminar's focus was on ‘Conventional plant breeding approaches for abiotic stresses,' and ‘Marker-assisted breeding for abiotic stress and in-vitro approaches in abiotic stress breeding.'

M. Subramanian, former Director of Research, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, presented a paper in which he stated that rice was cultivated on 20.16 lakh hectares (2011-2012) in Tamil Nadu and the production was 62.53 million tonnes with a productivity of 3.1 tonnes per hectare. Achieving the expected target of 140 tonnes by 2020 to satisfy the growing population was difficult because of abiotic stress-related issues.

The second lead paper was presented by M. Rangaswamy, former Director, School of Genetics, TNAU. He said that abiotic stress led to total or partial loss of yield. It could be prevented through incorporation of desired nuclear genes in one way and utilisation of these genes as they were in the other way.

S.M. Ibrahim, Head, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, as rapporteur of various sessions said that the seminar conclusions derived to develop strategies for better breeding of crop plants by avoiding the abiotic stress- related issues and thereby increasing crop production and productivity to sustain the nature's ecological balance.

A poster session was also conducted.