An advanced facility to help speed up development and selection of crop varieties, which are tolerant to drought, flood and heat in a more precise way, is being set up at the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) here.
The facility — Phenomics platform — is being set up at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore under the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) to study climate change impacts in crops (on how to tackle drought, floods and warming), CRIDA Director B Venkateswarlu told PTI.
“We envisage that the climate change in the country will manifest in more warming, higher temperatures (minimum as well as maximum), and rainfall in less number of rainy days (too much rainfall in a short period or prolonged drought),” he said, pointing out that major challenges will be warming (higher temperatures than normal) and rainfall occurring irregularly.
At the upcoming facility, plants will be grown under controlled condition and they are subjected to water-shortage (drought), flooding and heat (by artificially rising temperature) and after that such plants will be scanned for different parameters, including growth, he said.
“Plant varieties in the gene bank are exposed to heat stress, water stress and drought stress and whichever (plants) survive they will be used as donors in the breeding programme,” he said, adding that it is the first step for the development of drought and heat tolerant crop varieties.
“The facility will help scientists to identify the most potential/suitable (parents) plant material for the breeding programme (thousands of varieties) in a quick way within a month which otherwise takes 2-3 years,” Venkateswarlu said.