To achieve the full genetic potential and higher profits for smallholder farmers, modern crop improvement programs, strong seed delivery system, better market access, support of national and local government agencies and a conducive policy environment is a must. These were the key messages from the 41st Foundation Day celebrations of ICAR-Directorate of Groundnut Research (DGR).
ICAR-DGR has been a long-term collaborator and partner of ICRISAT through the decades. As Guest of Honor at the event, Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Genetic Gains, ICRISAT, delivered a keynote lecture, highlighting the importance of collaborative research in strengthening national crop improvement programs. He appreciated the collaboration between ICRISAT and ICAR-DGR over the years in conducting high-quality research on groundnut to achieve higher productivity and nutritional benefits.
It should be noted that ICRISAT and ICAR-DGR together have been leading the adoption and implementation of modern genomics tools and approaches for the modernization of crop improvement programs. A perfect example of this fact is the development of two high-oleic groundnut varieties – Girnar 4 and Girnar 5 – through molecular breeding, for the first time in India. Read more about it here.
Dr Varshney said, to realize higher genetic gains in groundnut or any other crop, there is an evident need to modernize our crop improvement programs. Starting from the genome, germplasm, phenotyping, and data science, which are basic ingredients for modern plant breeding in the 21st century, adoption of modern translational genomics approaches is also critical. Now is the time, he said, for amalgamation of modern science practices like haplotype-based breeding, speed breeding, genomic selection and gene editing, to hasten the varietal development process.
A panel discussion with scientists Dr JB Misra, Former Director, ICAR-DGR; Dr KV Bhatt, NBPGR; Dr B Chellapilla, IARI; Dr GP Mishra, IARI; and Dr S Bhatia, NIPGR, focused on various issues in groundnut genomics and future crop breeding programs. The recording of the keynote lecture and the panel discussion is available on ICAR-DGR’s YouTube channel.
Dr TR Sharma, DDG (Crop Sciences) – ICAR, the Chief guest at the event, highlighted the importance of biotechnological interventions in achieving food and nutritional security and urged scientists to contribute more towards achieving sustainable growth in agriculture.
Dr Radhakrishnan T, Director, ICAR-DGR while making a brief presentation on the institute’s journey and achievements during the last four decades, appreciated ICRISAT’s long-term collaboration and reaffirmed their continued support and collaboration in the future as well.
The ICAR-DGR Foundation Day was celebrated on 1 October 2020.