Preventing land degradation and effective use of water resources

Photo credit: Google

Eleusine coracana is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. Earliest Karnataka civilisation shows it was grown in Hallur in the later Iron Age. Wikipedia

Breeding climate-smart crops top priority for Indian state of Karnataka

Breeding climate-smart sorghum, finger millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut crops figure high on the agenda of the Government of Karnataka (GoK).

Chickpea (Cicer anietinum) - http://www.cilr.uq.edu.au/UserImages/Image/ImageGallery/larger_images/Chickpea%20flowers_big.jpg
Chickpea (Cicer anietinum) – http://www.cilr.uq.edu.au/UserImages/Image/ImageGallery/larger_images/Chickpea%20flowers_big.jpg

Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture, GoK, said that Karnataka will soon sign an agreement with ICRISAT and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, India, to produce non-GM varieties of the above five crops. A consortium would be formed for this purpose and will be funded by GoK.

Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) -   http://www.icrisat.org/what-we-do/crops/crops-pigeonpea/pigeonpea-asia.jpg
Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) – http://www.icrisat.org/what-we-do/crops/crops-pigeonpea/pigeonpea-asia.jpg

With 2015 being the International Year of Soils, he said that the upcoming Bhoochetana Plus program would lay great emphasis on preventing land degradation and effective use of water resources.

“Our soils are not just thirsty, they are hungry too,” he said referring to the micronutrient deficiencies that the soil tests have revealed during the first phase of the Bhoochetana project initiated by ICRISAT. He said the government aims to issue Soil Health Cards to all farmers in Karnataka by 2016-17.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

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