A roadmap to achieve pulses self-sufficiency for India by increasing production, yield and area under pulses, and by setting up seed hubs and demonstration of best technologies was recently drawn up by the Government of India (GoI) in consultation with national and international research institutes. The government announced the implementation of a Pulses Program, with an outlay of ` 4.05 billion (US$ 60.44 million), over the next four years to achieve self-sufficiency in pulses.
At a recent workshop, detailed plans were developed which include creating 150 seed hubs across the country to produce quality seeds. ICRISAT will be one of the seed hubs.
These hubs will be set up by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Funding to strengthen the facilities for seed production, processing and storage will be available along with the provision to establish a revolving fund for operational expenditure.
The target set for production is 23.5 million tons by 2020 and 27.5 million tons by 2025, while the target for average yield has been set at 900 kg per ha by 2020 and 1,000 kg per ha by 2025 against the current average yield of 750 kg per ha. The area under pulse crops is targeted to reach 26 million ha by 2020 and 27.5 million ha by 2025 against the current area of 24 million ha.
India is the largest producer (18.2 million tons), consumer (over 22 million tons) and importer (3-5 million tons per year) of pulses. The current initiative is an effort to bridge this gap.
Plans are in place to conduct 100 clusters of demonstrations on best-bet technologies across the country, with each cluster covering an area of 100 ha. Demonstrations will include crop varieties for all cropping seasons, cropping systems, mechanization, integrated crop management practices, grain processing and storage, value addition, marketing etc., so as to get an idea of the extent of enhancement in production and farmers’ income possible with available technologies.
Dr JS Sandhu, DDG, Crop Science, ICAR, spoke about scaling up seed production and distribution as a key intervention. Mr SK Pattanayak, Secretary, Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, GoI, emphasized three key areas: seeds of improved varieties, irrigation tailored to pulses (especially micro irrigation), and markets that allow farmers to increase their profitability aligned to improved farmer welfare. These priorities are aligned to the ICRISAT policy brief ‘Towards Self Sufficiency in Pulse Production in India’ submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) earlier this year at the request of the PMO.
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