Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Biotechnology, a Key to Agricultural Development

Mr. Sharad Pawar, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Consumers Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, recognized biotechnology as a key factor in agricultural development in the coming decades. While inaugurating the National Seminar on "Seed and Crop Technologies for Doubling Agricultural Production", organized by the National Seed Association of India (NSAI) from 8-9th August, he stressed that application of biotechnology in agriculture holds enormous promise in developing crop varieties with higher level of tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Emphasizing on the record production of 230.67 million tonnes of food grains during 2007-08, India is well poised to achieve similar production levels in 2008-09. It is important that India follows the trend as agriculture is of critical importance and source of largest livelihood provider, he said. The Government of India adheres to the commitment of creating a conducive environment for application of frontier sciences in varietal development and for enhanced investment in research and development.

With limited natural resources available to improve agricultural production, genetically engineered crops are being looked upon as promising alternative which can benefit farmers, manufacturers as well as consumers. At the same time, concerns related to human and animal health should be addressed, said Mr. Pawar.

In addition, he called upon the seed industry to further strengthen the move towards food security and pay greater attention to developing quality seeds in cereals and legumes. He also appreciated the efforts of the private sector for the significant increase in production of quality seeds.

For more information about National Seed Association of India (NSAI), visit: http://www.seedassociationofindia.com/ and get a copy of the Minister's speech from Executive Director, NSAI at: aicba1@yahoo.co.in For more information about biotech development in India contact: b.choudhary@isaaa.org and k.gaur@cgiar.org .

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