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PM Modi has launched 35 new crop varieties, with special traits such as climate resilience and nutrition-rich content, which the ICAR has developed to address the twin challenges of climate change and malnutrition.
Here's a list of all 35 climate resilient crops with their specific traits.
In an endeavour to create mass awareness for adoption of climate resilient technologies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday (28 September), dedicated 35 crop varieties with special traits via video conferencing. The event was organised pan India at all Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institutes, State and Central Agricultural Universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs).
During the programme, the Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation the newly constructed campus of the National Institute of Biotic Stress Management Raipur.
Channelising science and technology to enhance agriculture
PM Modi said that it is critical for twenty-first century India to continue developing the synergy between agriculture and science, and a big step in that direction was the 35 new crop varieties that were dedicated to the farmers of the country.
The Prime Minister remarked that due to climate change, new types of pests, new diseases, epidemics had emerged and because of this, there was a threat to the health of humans and livestock and crops were also affected. Intensive continued research on these aspects was necessary.
In the last six to seven years, science and technology are being used on a priority basis to solve the challenges related to agriculture. “Our focus is very much on more nutritious seeds, adapted to new conditions, especially in changing climates”, said PM Modi.
What are the 35 newly launched crop varieties?
As per the PMO, these 35 new crop varieties, with special traits such as climate resilience and nutrition-rich content, have been developed by the ICAR to address the twin challenges of climate change and malnutrition.
These include a drought-tolerant variety of chickpea, wilt and sterility mosaic resistant pigeon pea, early maturing variety of soybean, disease-resistant varieties of rice and biofortified varieties of wheat, pearl millet, maise and chickpea, quinoa, buckwheat, winged bean and faba bean.
These special traits crop varieties also include those that address the anti-nutritional factors found in some crops that adversely affect human and animal health.
What’s so special about these crops?
What’s the need for climate resilient crops?
According to experts, the impact of climate change, like changing monsoon patterns, rising sea levels, deadlier heat waves, intense storms and floods, is likely to show its adverse impact on agriculture as a changing climate can hamper how and which crops can be grown and harvested, and the yield they provide. These rapid climate changes are capable of altering the entire dynamics of agriculture in the affected region.
A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month said that climate change will have economy-wide repercussions in India if not mitigated, and could lead to shrinking of the agriculture cover in the country.
According to the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), a project under ICAR, “climate change has become an important area of concern for India to ensure food and nutritional security for (its) growing population". It notes that while climate change has global impacts, “countries like India are more vulnerable in view of the high population depending on agriculture".
Agriculture makes up about 16-20 per cent of India’s GDP, and, NICRA says, a “4.5 to 9 per cent negative impact on production implies the cost of climate change to be roughly up to 1.5 per cent of GDP per year". This is why research and development to cope with climate change in agriculture is an area of high-priority research.
The ICAR also noted that climate change-related projections in the medium-term (2010-2039) estimated a reduction of between 4.5 to 9 per cent in crop yields.
The Union Ministry of Finance, through a presentation in June 2021, noted that the government has now shifted its research focus from high yielding variety (HYV) crops to nutrient-rich and climate resilient crop varieties.
“Varieties tolerant to diseases, insects pests, drought, salinity, and flooding," are also being developed along with those that are “early maturing and amenable to mechanical harvesting", the Finance Ministry had said.