National meet on underutilized crops at CSKHPAU

May 01, 2011 9:55 | Poltics

JAIDEEP REHAN

Palampur 30 April. A two days group meet on All India coordinated research network  on underutilized crops was inaugurated at CSK H.P. Agriculture University, here today.

 

Chief Guest Dr.S.K.Sharma, Vice Chancellor, in his inaugural address, underlined the importance of these crops. He said that due to increasing pressure on farm land for other developmental activities, it was imperative to pay attention to such underutilized crops like  buckwheat, chenopodium, rice-bean, amaranths, etc. which grow on marginal lands and were nutritionally very rich. He informed that out of 158 plants under use for food crops, sixty percent dependency was only on three crops viz. wheat, paddy and maize.  “This is detrimental for food security as we should have plenty of crops in our food basket”, he said. He advised the scientific community to work hard to accelerate research work on such crops and spread awareness among farmers. He also advised that at least one underutilized crop should be assigned to each network centre for thorough work on it.

 

Dr.J.S.Sandhu, Assistant Director General(seeds), Indian council of agricultural research(ICAR),in his presidential remarks, said that research work on such crops demanded lot of labour and effort as one had to start from scratch but due to value of these crops and their adaptability in tough climatic conditions, they have immense value. He appreciated the local university for doing commendable work on underutilized crops.

Dr.D.C.Bhandri, Network coordinator of the project, said that these crops grow in extreme environmental situations, threatened habitats and possess promising nutritional and industrial importance for a variety of purposes. Multi-location evaluation of genotypes has led to identification of 34 varieties of eleven important crops.

 

Dr.K.C.Bansal, Director, National bureau of plant genetic resources (NBPGR) suggested that nomenclature of underutilized crops be changed to crops of future as they had lot of potential. Dr.S.P.Sharma, Director of Research, asked ICAR to support the University for doing more work on these crops as farmers of tribal belt of the State were still using these crops in their daily food. Drs Neelam Bhardwaj, Poonam and Y.S.Paul also gave detailed information about these crops. Some publications were also released on the occasion. Around eighty scientists from all over the country are taking part in the meeting.