Visakhapatnam, July 29:
Farmers in Andhra Pradesh and other paddy-growing States are not accepting hybrid rice, as there is only a marginal yield hike in comparison with high-yielding fine varieties. Also, it is much easier for them to produce the seed in the case of varieties, according to A. Padma Raju, Vice-Chancellor of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad.
Padma Raju, who was here to sign a memorandum of understanding with Andhra University, said in an interview that N.G Ranga Agricultural University was in the forefront in rice research, both of high-yielding varieties and hybrid rice.
“Paddy is grown on 40 million hectares in the country and one-fourth of the area is covered by varieties developed in our university. We have also developed hybrid rice, but our farmers are not keen on hybrid rice,” he said.
“There is only a marginal yield hike and the seed becomes a problem in hybrid rice. Therefore, our farmers are opting for varieties."
He further said people in Andhra Pradesh and other States were “opting for fine varieties of rice and there has been a drastic decline in the production and consumption of millets. Therefore, we have taken up a campaign to increase millet cultivation and consumption.”
The Vice-Chancellor said millets were of great importance for a balanced diet and nutritional security and also to curb the incidence of diabetes and other diseases. Moreover, as water was scarce, rice cultivation should be reduced and millets grown in rain-fed conditions should be preferred.
He also felt rice exports could be allowed within limits to secure a good price for the paddy farmer.
He stressed the importance of using IT for agricultural extension and the necessity of taking the fruits of agricultural research to farmers.
In response to a query, Padma Raju said the university was not taking up any genetic modification for producing GM crops, but it was using biotechnology tools for selective breeding of varieties.
Referring to organic farming, he said the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides should be gradually brought down, but “in the present circumstances 100 per cent organic farming will neither be possible nor desirable in our country.”
Courtesy : http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/farmer...