National Webinar on “Underutilized crops for augmenting farmers income in abiotic stress regions” held on August 10, 2020
The ICAR-National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management (NIASM), Baramati in collaboration with Society for Abiotic Stress Research in Agricultural Sciences (SARAS) organized a national webinar on “Underutilized crops for augmenting farmers income in abiotic stress regions” on 10th August, 2020. The aim was to explore the scope, identify the sources, build awareness and impart knowledge on underutilized crops for the regions affected by abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity and alkalinity.
Dr Himanshu Pathak, Director, ICAR-NIASM, highlighted the current status and importance of underutilized crops in India in his introductory remarks. He also suggested the needs and roadmap for bringing these crops back on table. Dr. Narendra Pratap Singh, President, SARAS informed about genesis and objectives of the Society. An overview about the webinar and participants was presented by Dr Jagadish Rane, Principal Scientist, ICAR-NIASM and Secretary SARAS. The webinar included discussions on various aspects of underutilized crops. Dr N Krishna Kumar, Ex DDG (Horticulture), ICAR, Ex South Asia Representative, Biodiversity International highlighted the benefits of using crop wild relatives in breeding programmes for multiple stress management. Dr S Dandin, Ex Vice Chancellor, University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot discussed on exploration, characterization and utilization of nutritious and underutilized fruits for achieving food and nutrition security in India. Dr RK Singh, Principal Scientist & Program Leader, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, Dubai, United Arab Emirates explained scope and opportunities of quinoa in salinity stress management. Dr Kuldeep Singh, Director, ICAR- National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi outlined the research and varieties released under various underutilized crops in AICRN on Potential Crops under the umbrella of ICAR. Dr Vilas Tonapy, Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad highlighted crop improvement programmes, strategies and developmental initiatives for improved production and promotion of millets in Indian context. Mr Luis Salazar Licea, Nottingham University, United discussed about phenotyping Bambara groundnut in managing drought stress.
The webinar highlighted scope for enhancing farm income, however, it was felt that the farmers and particularly young entrepreneurs needs to be supported with planting material, crop production technology, value addition aspects and market demand to get maximum profit.
The webinar provided an opportunity to more than 275 participants including scientists from public and private research institutes, post-graduate students, agricultural consultants and progressive farmers to listen to experts from India and abroad who shared their experience and knowledge about the underutilized crops. The webinar concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr Aliza pradhan, Scientist, ICAR-NIASM.