- The Indian Agricultural Analysis Institute (IARI) has developed the nation’s first-ever non-GM (genetically modified) herbicide-tolerant rice varieties that may be straight seeded and considerably save water and labour in comparison with typical transplanting.
- The IARI promises that the rice varieties ‘Pusa Basmati 1979’ and ‘Pusa Basmati 1985’ will save massive labour as well as water input costs in rice cultivation.
- According to IARI, these rice varieties have been developed by crossing over two existing popular varieties Pusa 1121 and Pusa 1509 with Robin, which, in turn, is a drought-tolerant rice variety derived from Nagina 22, another deep root, drought and heat-tolerant rice breed.
- IARI claims the new rice varieties will save on labour and water input in rice cultivation compared to conventional transplanting varieties as they can be directly seeded.
- This is because the new varieties will allow the direct application of herbicides such as Imazethapyr, which eradicate a range of weeds.
- In conventional rice growing, herbicides are not directly applied as they can’t distinguish between the rice plant and weeds.
- Therefore, paddy seeds are first raised as young plants in nurseries before being planted in the fields some 25-35 days later.
- This whole process is necessary because standing water in the nursery acts as a natural herbicide eliminating weeds.
- But the process is a very water- and labour-intensive process as the young seedlings need to be maintained in standing water of up to 5 cm depth for almost a month.
- This requires massive labour work as the rice fields require watering every 2-3 days for the whole month along with puddling in the nursery.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while releasing the new varieties said they will also ensure higher yields.
- In the last 6-7 years, science and technology are being used on a priority basis to solve the challenges related to agriculture, To protect the crops from diseases, new varieties of seeds were given to the farmers for higher yield.
- Due to climate change, new types of pests, new diseases, epidemics are coming, due to this, there is a big threat to the health of humans and livestock and crops are also being affected.
- In-depth research is needed on these aspects
- Also, it is now necessary to develop millets and other grains further with solutions from science and research. The purpose is that they can be grown in different parts of the country, according to different needs.
- The other crop varieties with special traits developed in 2021 and released by PM Modi, address challenges of climate change and malnutrition as they contain special traits like climate resilience and higher nutrient content.
- They include a drought-tolerant variety of chickpea, mosaic resistant pigeon pea, early maturing soybean, biofortified varieties of wheat, pearl millet, maize and chickpea and quinoa among others.
- Indian agriculture is directly dependent on climate change and weather. The climate changes in temperature, rainfall and carbon dioxide concentration are expected to significantly impact the crop growth and production in the country.
- With climate change will prove to a stumbling block, the cycle of monsoons which originate from the Indian and Arabian Seas.
- For example, a warmer atmosphere will aggressively push the hydrologic cycle, which alters rainfall since it holds more moisture and it will push for more evaporation leading to dry lakes and other water bodies.
Changing Climate Affecting Agriculture
- Extreme heat: Crops need suitable soil, water, sunlight, and heat to grow. However, extreme heat events and reductions in precipitation and water availability have hampered the crop productivity.
- Changing Rainfall Patterns: Rainfall patterns have already begun shifting across the country, and such changes are expected to intensify over the coming years.
This is likely to mean more intense periods of heavy rain and longer dry periods, even within the same regions.
- Floods:Flooding in many agricultural regions of the country have been witnessed and these floods have devastated crops and livestock, accelerated soil erosion and have polluted water.
The Scenario of India
- India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.
- According to a report by the International Energy Agency India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in 2018.
This accounts for 7% of global GHG emissions.
- Agriculture and livestock account for 18% of gross national emissions.
- A study by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT)pointed out that India has the potential to cut 18% of its annual greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and livestock sector.
MEASURES TO BE TAKEN
- We should create and adapt short term and long term strategies to human activities which can promote changes in climate.
- Firstly, develop new climate tolerant crop varieties, which can be a key tool for adapting agriculture to a changing climate. Besides, employ a cropping system development which can help agriculture adapt to different seasons.
- For example the use of crop mixtures that have several crops growing at one time can help systems exhibit greater durability during periods of flood or severe or heat stress.
- To control nitrous problems, we should deploy improvements in plant nitrogen and water use in a better and efficient manner.
- In order to allow effective coordination about climate change data, private and government agencies should develop global testing sites and data collection and dissemination efforts. During such methods, one should use standard data protocols, to assess the performance of existing and new genetic material and management systems in the current range of agro-climatic conditions.
- Create and generate value based new assessment tools and methods which incorporate biophysical hurdles which affect agricultural productivity, climate and socioeconomic scenarios.
- Such scientific tools should be employed at regular intervals in various parts of the country.
Consider the following statements regarding IARI:
- The new varieties developed by the IARI i.e ‘Pusa Basmati 1979’ and ‘Pusa Basmati 1985 are related to Paddy
- Indian agricultural Research Institute (IARI), popularly known as Pusa Institute, began in 1905 at Pusa (Bihar) with the generous grant from an American philanthropist, Mr. Henry Phipps.
- Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- (a) Both 1 and 2 are correct
- (b) 1 Only
- (c) 2 only
- (d) Both 1 and 2 are incorrect