September 10, 2019
Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized a seminar on ‘Seed Technology Innovation for Sustainable Rice Production’ in New Delhi today. The objective of the seminar was to discuss ways to enhance rice productivity sustainably and improve farmers profitability in India. Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Shri Kailash Choudhary was present at the event.
Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Shri Kailash Choudhary; Dr Prem Kumar, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Government of Bihar and other dignitaries at the Seminar on Seed Technology Innovation for Sustainable Rice Production organised by Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) in New Delhi today
Other eminent guests present at the event were Dr. Prem Kumar, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture, Government of Bihar; Dr. SK Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner, Government of India and Mr. VK Gaur, Chairman & Managing Director, National Seed Corporation. Other participants at the event were senior government officials, farmer organizations scientists and industry representatives.
Rice is one of the primary crops of India and is therefore critical to increase its productivity. Among the rice growing countries in the world, India has the largest area under paddy – 43.86 million hectare and ranks second by producing 163 MT (million tonnes) just next to China which holds the first position and produces 203 MT. In India, up to 25% of yield losses in rice crop are due to the disease and insect pest infestation. Further, low planting density, poor agronomic practices and weed management, low seed replacement rate etc are also leading to low rice productivity. The major challenge is however posed by its production, one kg of rice requires 2000-3000 litres of water. Therefore, average water inputs for India’s rice production of 163 MT stands at 327 thousand billion litres. Since 90% of the cultivated land in India belongs to marginal, small and medium farmers, it is essential for the country to make effective technologies and processes available to them.
Deliberations at the seminar brought forward the need for long-term research investments in bringing more productive hybrids with improved grain characters, strengthen seed production systems by geographic diversification and take up more intensive promotion of hybrid in new areas through PPP mode. Further, State Government’s support is also essential to increase acreage under hybrid rice in all states.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kailash Choudhary said, “Government is always thinking on finding ways to increase the income of farmers, as he does not get the requisite timely profits due to multiple issues. Farmer awareness regarding new technology and techniques is essential to realize the benefits in this sector. We also need to work together to change the perception around the farming profession. Farming needs to be branded in a way that more youngsters are interested in taking up agriculture as a profession.”
Dr. M Ramasami, Chairman, FSII said, “Growing rice is very expensive in India and we have not been able to reach our full potential due to several limitations. Support through policies will facilitate adoption of technologies and sustainable practices to achieve our goal of doubling farmer’s income.”
Mr. Ram Kaundinya, Director General, FSII said, “Hybrid rice is one of the most feasible and practically adoptable approaches for the farmers as it gives 20-35% additional yield and is environmentally sustainable. It requires less water and nitrogen as they grow in short duration, are stress tolerant and are better adapted in rainfed conditions. Hybrids have been key in increasing productivity of maize and cotton in India but not in rice so far.”
Dr. Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director, FSII said, “Technologies like Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) also holds tremendous benefits. It can cultivate rice in a sustainable manner by reducing water inputs, labour costs and can increase yields. For example, farmers use on an average 50 litres/acre of diesel for transplanting rice in northern region. DSR gives an opportunity to save ~ 15 litres/ha of diesel consumption by eliminating puddling operations in northern region alone.”
India’s agricultural exports have increased from INR 2,15,396 crores in 2015-16 to INR 2,50,273 crores in financial year 2017-18 registering a growth of nearly 16.19%. This success can be primarily attributed to the higher exports of rice (both basmati and non-basmati) followed by raw cotton, oil meals, castor oil etc. To surpass these records while growing rice sustainably, farmers will have to adopt and given access to new technologies and advancements in the field.
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