NOTE: Interesting that amidst all the hyping of GMOs in India, here's a noted Indian biotech scientist admitting GM crops do not increase yields and that food security can be achieved using conventional crops.
'Conventional seeds, hybrids to ensure food security'
ASHOK B SHARMA
Financial Express , July 22 2007
New Delhi, Jul 22 - Scientists have said that immediate concerns over ensuring food security through increased yields can be easily met through use of available conventional seeds and hybrids. Attempts should be made to bridge the gap between the demonstrated yields of various crops and the actual yields in the farmers' fields, they said.
Increase in rice production can ensure food security to the growing population as a large section of India's population consumes it. Production in 2006-07 has been 92.76 million tonne, an increase of about one million tonne over the previous year. "We need to have a target for increasing rice production by 10 million tonne from the present level," said the noted rice breeder, EA Siddiq.
Siddiq, honorary chair professor in biotechnology in Acharya NG Ranga Agriculture University, Hyderabad said, "We can mange with our conventional varieties and hybrids to ensure food security. Transgenic crops developed so far do not increase the potential yield."
The national average yield of rice in the country is only 1.86 tonne per hectare, one of the lowest among major rice growing countries. Among states having average rice yields more than the national average are - Punjab with 3.89 tonne/ha, Haryana with 2.74 tonne/ha, West Bengal with 2.5 tonne/ha, Tamil Nadu with 2.3 tonne/ha and Kerala with 2.14 tonne/ha.
However, the ICAR assistant director general SN Shukla said that frontline demonstration of high yielding rice varieties (HYV) like Shanti showed a higher yield at 8.1 tonne/ha in village Ootalapally in Ranga Reddy district in Andhra Pradesh. Another HYV rice Krishahamsa showed a yield of 6.9 tonne/ha in Murcherla demonstration plot in Andhra Pradesh, while the HYV rice Triguna showed a yield of 5.59 tonne/ha in Andhra Pradesh in Sarloraopally village in Andhra Pradesh. The check variety Tella hamsa also showed a higher yield of 5.9 tonne/ha in village Murcherla. Trials of hybrid rice show yields ranging from 5.3 to 9.26 tonne/ha.
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