Genetic Crops Current Affairs - 2020

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India attends International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

India attended the eighth session of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) at Rome, Italy. Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Tomar attended the session representing India.

The Treaty is in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity. The treaty was negotiated through FAO.

About the session

  • The Governing sessions of the treaty are biennial.
  • Around 146 countries participated in the session
  • International organizations such as FAO, UN were also part of the session

About the Treaty

It is also known as the “Seed Treaty”. It is an international agreement to ensure food security by exchange of world’s plant genetic resources of food and agriculture. It also aims at conservation and sustainable use of seed varieties

Objectives

The International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is based on the following principles

  • Countries depend on plant genetic resources to produce food
  • To provide a broad integrated global system that will provide easy access of genetic materials to scientists, farmers and plant breeders
  • To help farmers on crop selection that adapts to unpredictable environmental changes and human needs.

The treaty provides a list of 64 crop species and their facilitated access.

India’s Nodal Agencies of the Treaty

In India, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is the nodal agency that fulfills the objective of the treaty. However, the ministry responsible to fulfil the treaty is Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as the guidelines of the treaty are completely based on environment resilience.

India’s Legislation

The Indian laws that abide by the treaty are as follows

  • Protection of plant varieties and farmers rights act
  • Biological Diversity Act, 2002. Along with the treaty, the act is also pursuant to India’s commitment towards United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity.

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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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