The demand for wheat in the country will reach 140 million tonnes (MT) by 2050, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has said. I S Solanki, ADG, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said here that he country has so far recorded unprecedented growth in wheat production.
Solanki was delivering the keynote address at the memorial in Hisar on the birth anniversary of Rao Bahadur Dr Ramdhan Singh, a noted plant breeder. The crop yield, which in 1912-13 was only 790 kg per hectare has increased to 3,197 kg per hectare in 2016-17.
“But in future, intensive efforts will need to be made as national productivity of wheat has to be increased to 46 quintal/ha to produce 140 million tonnes of wheat from the available land,” he said. Highlighting the challenges facing wheat production, he called upon agricultural scientists to develop new wheat varieties which apart from being heat tolerant and resistant to diseases and pests, are water efficient. He also emphasised the need to bridge the existing yield gap between the different zones of the country.
Solanki said there is a need to develop wheat varieties with at least seven tonnes per hectare of yield for the north-western plain zone of the country. Paying tributes to Ramdhan Singh, he said that the scientists and students should draw inspiration from the legendary scientist and work hard to contribute in providing food and nutritional security to the country.
K P Singh, Vice Chancellor, CCSHAU, in his presidential remarks said that with the burgeoning population, the number of vegetarians is also increasing. Underlining the achievements of Ramdhan Singh as a plant breeder, he said that today India is a leading exporter of basmati rice.
This has been developed from the basmati 370 variety developed by Ramdhan Singh. He said Ramdhan Singh had developed 25 improved varieties of wheat, rice, barley and pulses in his life which resulted in unprecedented increase in food production in the Indian sub-continent.