Innovations can help farmers cope with high food prices: ICRISAT

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Hyderabad, May 27 (UNI) ICRISAT Director-General William D Dar today said scientific innovations in crop cultivation techniques could help poor farmers cope with soaring food prices.

In a statement here, he said ''on-farm yields of cereal crops in the drylands can be doubled or tripled with the modest inputs such as low rates of fertiliser combined with highly responsive crop varieties, particularly hybrids, and low-cost rainwater harvesting.'' He said planting-basin cultivation, fertiliser microdosing, use of improved crop varieties and hybrids, improved seed systems, tree-crop integration, gravity-fed drip irrigation, growing new types of crops and integrated pest management were some of the scientific innovations that were found effective in producing food at lower cost. Sweet sorghum can be used for producing bioethanol as well as grain and animal feed, he added.

''Unless we reinvigorate agriculture and lift it to a new level of productivity and efficiency, the world will face more hunger, more poverty, more despair and more anger,'' Dr Dar said.

UNI VA SJ RL AS1627

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