Thanjavur: The Agricultural University of Tamil Nadu (TNAU) is set to launch a new variety of rice similar to BPT or “Andhra Ponni” ahead of Pongal, Vice Chancellor N Kumar said. Compared to other varieties, it is said to be of higher quality with resistance to pests, he told reporters on Friday.
“The new variety would be fine grained with good cooking quality. It will be resistant to pests and diseases. Most likely, it will be released before the Pongal festival, ”he added. About 350 prominent scientists from various organizations across the country are participating in the two-day Global Rice Conference jointly organized by TNAU and the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) in Thanjavur. They discussed crop management and improvement at the meeting and present around 300 research papers. Kumar said that although the government wants to expand the cultivation area every year, it faces challenges such as drought, flooding, pests and disease. Scientists discussed the introduction of tolerance varieties and the adoption of new technologies at the conference, he said.
TNAU has made a significant contribution to rice research by giving it a 27% weighting among all its research programs. The university has played a major role in the development of high-yielding rice varieties and in the introduction and popularization of varieties since 1960 as part of the green revolution, he added. He said farmers in general suffered losses whenever they grew BPT rice for their income without worrying about risks such as pests and diseases.
In his remarks, the director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, AK Singh, recalled the recently developed herbicide tolerant rice mutant “Robin” in memory of the scientist who worked at TNAU.