Scientists urged to explore use of biotech in agri production

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Coimbatore, Jan 31 (PTI) A top government official todayurged scientists to explore whether biotechnology could beutilised to improve the agricultural production in thecountry.

This was immediately necessary in light of the decreasingcultivable land, degradation of land and dwindling fresh waterresources, said P Rama Mohan Rao, Principal Secretary,Government of Tamil Nadu, and Agricultural ProductionCommissioner.

He was addressing the three-day ''AgBio'' 2011-GlobalSummit on Agbio innovations, at Tamil Nadu AgriculturalUniversity (TNAU) here.

Besides developing new technologies for wise andjudicious use of water sources, there was also the need todevelop new varieties capable of withstanding droughts andfloods, Rao said.

There were good traditional varieties with the ability towithstand the vagaries of the climate and also stay pestand disease resistant, Rao said, but bemoaned that thesetraits were vanishing due to the advent of hybrid varieties.

Stating that good traditional varieties have to beincorporated through biotechnology in order to improve thecrop yield, he added that innovation in the field wasnecessary to make agriculture more remunerative.

As far as Tamil Nadu was concerned, more than 90 per centof groundwater was utilised and the amount of surface waterwas also drying up, Rao said.

TNAU vice-chancellor, Murugesa Bhoopathi, said thefuture of world food security was dependent on thedevelopments made in the field of biotechnology.

The summit, with a theme ''ensuring food, nutrition,energy and health security'', will discuss contemporary issuesin agricultural biotechnology in different areas including theimpact of climate change on crop productivity,genetically-modified organisms and biosafety, technologytransfer and supply chains.

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