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ICRISAT, ICAR join hands for crop improvement

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together

They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals. It will benefit small farmers in India and globally.

Key Facts
  • The agreement has identified climate smart crops, smart food and digitalisation of breeding database as some of the core areas of research.
  • The other areas of focus include developing genetic and genomic resources of finger millet and enhancing genetic gains for priority traits, integrating systems modelling tools for upscaling climate resilient agriculture.
  • On crop improvement front, it will facilitate research on pigeonpea and chickpea for insect resistance. Dryland cereals and grain legumes are branded as smart foods.

About International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT)

  • ICRISAT is a non-profit agricultural research organization headquartered in Patancheru in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organizations convened by the Ford and the Rockefeller Foundations.
  • Its charter was signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • It has several regional centres around globe- Niamey (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and research stations Bamako (Mali), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).
  • Since its inception, India has granted special status to ICRISAT as a UN Organization operating in the Indian Territory making it eligible for special immunities and tax privileges. 

About Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India. It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education under the Union Ministry of Agriculture. The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.

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Pests eat away India’s 35% of total crop yield: ICAR scientist

According to Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientist, pests eat away about 30-35% of the annual crop yield in India.

Such large-scale crop-loss is having an adverse effect on the agricultural biosafety which is paramount to food security of the country. 

Key Facts
  • Among such pests, nematodes (microscopic worms many of which are parasites) have emerged as a major threat to crops in the country. They have caused loss of 60 million tonnes of crops annually.
  • They are causing loss of crops to the tune of almost 60 million tonnes or 10-12 % of crop production every year. Indian farmers are still not fully aware about these potential crop-destroyers.
  • In the past particular kind of nematode had affected plants such as potatoes and tomatoes in India. The Potato Cyst Nematode was first discovered in Nilgiris and now has spread to various parts of the country.
What are Nematodes?
  • Nematodes are microscopic worms many of which are parasites consisting of roundworms, threadworms and eelworms.
  • They have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine (salt or brackish water) to fresh water, to soils, and from the tropics to the harsh polar regions, as well as the highest to the lowest of elevations.
  • Depending on the species, a nematode may be beneficial or detrimental to plant health. The predatory nematodes breed by soaking a specific recipe of leaves and other detritus in water.
  • Crop rotation of agricultural plants with nematode-resistant species or varieties is one of the simplest way of managing parasitic infestations of nematodes.

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