A Brainstorming Meeting on ‘Improvement of Potential Crops and Development of Value Chain’ was organized by the All India Coordinated Research Network (AICRN) on Potential Crops (PC), ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi, at NASC, New Delhi on June 20, 2019. Dr Trilochan Mohapatra Secretary, DARE & DG, ICAR was the Chief Guest of the meeting. Dr S.K. Malhotra, Agricultural Commissioner, DAC&FW, Mr Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary (Seed), DAC&FW and Dr A.K. Singh, DDG (Horticulture & Crop Science), ICAR, were the Guests of Honour. Over 150 participants from ICAR, SAUs, private industries and farmers participated in the meeting.
In his welcome address, Dr. Kuldeep Singh, Director, ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi highlighted the main aim and objectives of the meeting. He briefed about the activities and progress of the AICRN on PC and also outlined the global scenario. He urged for focusing on the agricultural diversity in order to use these crops for eliminating hunger and poverty from the country. He also stressed the need for more international linkages for these crops.
While presenting The Chief Guests’ remarks, Dr T. Mohapatra urged the participants to not only deliberate on the priority areas of research, breeding, seed production systems, processing, value chain, partnership, networking, and strategies required to promote potential crops in India, but to lay emphasis on chalking out a road map with specific action plan, with clear cut time lines and responsibilities. He opined that the crops varieties developed by the agricultural scientists and farmers need proper branding and adequate publicity, and effective coordination between the inventors and the information disseminators. The deliverables from the AICRN would not only broaden the food and agriculture basket, but also establish leadership role of India in the area of potential crops.
Dr S.K. Malhotra said that although many varieties had been released under the AICRN on PC, none have been placed in the seed production chain, primarily due to lack of seed standards. Therefore, he motivated the AICRN partners to focus on development of seed standards. He apprised the gathering about the various government schemes such as ‘Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna’ and ‘Paramparat Krishi Vigyan Yojna’, which could be useful for the stakeholders working with these potential crops to tap. He also urged the farmers to add value-addition in their products that can help them to achieve more profits. Dr. Malhotra stressed on the importance of bio-fortification in the crops varieties in order to ensure their nutritional values and health benefits effectively.
Dr A.K. Singh emphasized that greater awareness be made related to these crops. Dr. Singh urged the scientists to develop techniques that can help to retain the important health and nutritional values of potential crops. He expressed hope that the deliberations would culminate in recommendations, paving way to increase in area and production, benefitting the farmers.
Mr Ashwini Kumar opined that potential crops should not only to be promoted as biofortified crops, but also equal emphasis be laid on value chain and product development. He also suggested that these crops be included in the public distribution system.
The deliberations on the brainstorming meeting focused on issues about variety development, production and value addition related to various potential crops and the scientific interventions required to overcome the bottlenecks. Dr S.K. Kaushik, Project Coordinator, AICRN on Potential Crops, proposed the vote of thanks after the inaugural function. The brainstorming meeting was followed by the XXIX Group Meet, AICRN on Potential Crops on June 21, 2019.
(Source: PC, AICRN on Potential Crops, ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi)