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Agri Univ to use biotechnology to give fillip-in to agriculture

Written by: Staff

Ludhiana, Aug 9 (UNI) To promote crop diversification in Punjab, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) endeavours to take course to biotechnology, and has submitted a Rs 24 crore project on new research schemes to the state government.

Under this project, the focus would be on alternative crops to replace the paddy-wheat cropping pattern.

University Vice- Chancellor Dr K S Aulakh, when contacted about the project, today said that conventional and non-conventional approaches had been proposed to develop and improve different crop varieties and related production protection technologies. PAU has identified eight specific crops for sustainable production and value addition through processing.

Integrated pest and disease management through genetic engineering forms the core of the recommendations forwarded to the goverment, he added.

PAU will focus on region specific research taking into account climatic conditions and physical constraints. This will be through regional planning.

Application of biotechnology is to develop crop varieties that will be resistant to high temperature fluctuations at the time of maturity. Maize has been found to be a suitable replacement of paddy and PAU scientists are currently engaged in enhancing its protein content to enhance nutritional value, particularly, by overcoming the deficiency of certain amino acids.

Similarly, more emphasis will be on pulses, a good source of proteins, minerals and vitamins in human diet. Pulses also improve soil health by fixing atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic bacteria. Intensive cultivation of pulses will leave sufficient nitrogen in the soil for succeeding crops.

Dr Aulakh said PAU has already recommended the sowing of summer moongbean (pulse variety) after harvesting wheat. Moongbean matures in about 60 days, which helps the soil regain fertility as the fields where it is sown remains vacant for a fairly long period and also it discourages paddy transplantation that saves groundwater.


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