PM Modi calls for campaign to mitigate impact of climate crisis on farms
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned about threats from the climate crisis to the country’s farming community, saying “science, farmers and society” must work closely. He was speaking via videoconference on Monday at an event to launch 35 new crop varieties designed to withstand extreme weather. He also virtually inaugurated a top farm-research institute in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur.
PM Modi said Indian scientists have developed several technologies to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture, including 1,300 seed varieties that could adapt to various situations. He also called for a campaign to shield agriculture from the climate crisis.
“Climate change can bring new challenges such as newer pests, new diseases and new epidemics. These can imperil humans, health of livestock and also impact crops,” Modi said.
He said the threats posed by the climate crisis could be overcome if “science and society collaborate closely”.
The National Institute of Biotic Stress Management, Raipur, which the PM virtually launched, will be a frontline lab to develop solutions for various pest attacks and other sources of biotic stress on crops.
According to climate experts, global warming can give rise to newer pests. “Our focus is very high on more nutritious seeds, adapted to new conditions, especially in changing climates. Let this be the start of a new campaign,” the Prime Minister said, referring to the Raipur institute.
The 35 crop varieties with “special traits” have been developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to address the “twin challenges of climate change and malnutrition”, according to an official statement.
Scientists have developed two varieties of non-genetically modified basmati rice that can withstand the herbicides, technically called Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985.
These varieties also don’t need to be grown in nurseries first before being transplanted on to fields, which is how most paddy is grown. Therefore, they can be directly grown in fields, which can help save water. The ICAR has also developed biofortified varieties of wheat, pearl millet, maize and chickpea, quinoa, buckwheat, winged bean and faba bean.