A delegation led by Hon’ble Shri Sunil Baburao Mendhe, Member of Parliament from Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra, along with state agriculture experts and progressive rice farmers is on a three-day visit to the International Rice Research Institute-South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi; the state-of-the-art research and development centre that was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in 2018 and is since working towards its mandate for developing and disseminating climate resilient rice varieties; training government agriculture officials, researchers and policy makers; and developing linkages with prominent institutions for enhancing R&D in Asia and Africa.
Shri Mendhe’s delegation visit aims to observe best practices and innovations that ISARC is implementing in rice and rice-based agriculture. The broad purpose is to encourage the same in Maharashtra, and particularly the Bhandara-Gondiya region, to enhance farmers’ incomes by 2022. Bhandara has a mixed economy with agriculture, industries and forest resources contributing chiefly to its economy; and is known for its large production of rice.
Shri Mendhe was enthused by the visit and his observations, and said that he there is immense scope for farmers in Gondia and Bhandara. Congratulating the ISARC team on their exemplary work, he will encourage agro-based units and help rice cultivators get the desired market for their produce.
Commenting on the relevance of ISARC’s work, Dr Arvind Kumar, Director ISARC said, “International Rice Research Institute is working since 1960 to tackle adverse impact of climate change on soil, water and other scarce natural resources, that is affecting farm productivity and resilience of rice and rice-based agri-food systems. ISARC Scientists are developing rice with low glycaemic index and micronutrients like Zinc, Iron, that has better grain quality and cooking quality, is resilient to climate change. This can maximise benefits for both farmers and consumers.”
ISARC’s team of senior scientists made technical presentations and gave a detailed tour of ISARC’s laboratories and demonstration crop fields to the Maharashtra delegation, detailing ISARC’s ongoing R&D work and innovations.
Key topics of discussion were; on R&D work being carried out by ISARC in form of, developing climate resilient varieties of rice; training and education of key stakeholders; geospatial techniques for crop monitoring and management; efficient management practices for scarce resources; Climate-Resilient soil and water management in rice-based agri-food systems; and research on better grain quality solutions.
The delegation is also visiting the Banaras Hindu University today for further discussions.
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