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Hybrid crops: Weapon in times of crisis

Hybrids and GM crops are emerging as a key weapon to fight impact on climate change on agriculture. According to a report, warmer weather can reduce agriculture yield by 2050, reports Chetan Chauhan.

delhi Updated: Jun 05, 2008 00:43 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Hybrids and Genetically Modified crops are emerging as a key weapon to fight impact on climate change on agriculture.

India in the last three years has released a number of hybrid varieties of wheat, rice, potato and pearl millet (popularly known as bajra) that can be grown in higher temperatures, consumer less water and are more resistant to pesticide attack.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has predicted that warmer weather by 2050 can reduce agriculture yield by 30-40 per cent by 2050, creating a major food crises for humans. South Asia, especially India, has been identified as major risk zone for adverse impact of climate change with increase in drought prone areas.

But, the latest plan on climate change acknowledges that India needs to find new varieties to with changing climate. In fact, in the last few years, Indian agriculture scientists have released number of hybrid varieties of different crops, which are drought resistant and consumer less water.

The Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and Potato Research Institute, Shimla, has released hybrid varies of rice, wheat, potato and of other food crops with better yield results.

The Tamil Nadu Agriculture University has come out with a new variety of rice for preparing idli with higher yield. It can be grown in areas with higher temperature, a recent university newsletter said. A new variety of rice, which can be grown in dry dirt, has been released on experimental basis in Punjab.