KOLKATA, India—“Climate-resilient rice varieties are performing well under drought in past years and helped stabilize crop
production,” said Shri Radha Mohan Singh, the Union Minister of India’s Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The Minister, speaking at the inauguration of Indian Seed Congress 2017, added that quality seed is undoubtedly essential for crop productivity. He also cited the contributions of the various scientists who developed the varieties in improving crop productivity and the income of farmers.
The demand for climate-resilient rice varieties promoted and disseminated by the Stress-tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project in India has been steadily increasing. These rice varieties captured 27% of the total order for kharif cropping season 2017, according to data available on Seednet India Portal. Out of 310 rice varieties, flood- and drought-tolerant varieties like Swarna-Sub1, Sahbhagi dhan, DRR42, and Samba- Sub1 are among the top 10 varieties in terms of seed production demand.
The Indian Seed Congress, held in Kolkata on 12-14 February, was organized by the National Seed Association of India in line with the vision of this government to bring prosperity to farmers. The main objective of the congress is to strengthen the Indian seed sector and increase the availability of certified and quality seeds to farmers. The Minister assured the representatives from various private seed sectors that the government is taking all possible efforts to help grow the seed sector where the public and private seed producers can work together for the betterment of the farmers.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is continuously trying to streamline the regulatory framework for the industry in order to make it transparent and progressive,” Singh said.
The STRASA project began in 2007, with the International Rice Research Institute in collaboration with the Africa Rice Center, to develop and deliver suitable rice varieties to the millions of farmers in the unfavorable rice-growing environments. (Read also in Rice Today Online)