The national release of high oleic groundnut varieties Girnar 4 (ICGV 15083) and Girnar 5 (ICGV 15090) in India in 2020 generated interest among public and private seed producing agencies, leading to its quick uptake. To ensure production of seed with the highest genetic purity, especially for confectionery industries, actors across the commodity value chain were oriented on procedures and guidelines. Over 65 participants from public and private seed producing agencies, food companies, policymakers, groundnut breeders, and National Agricultural Research Systems participated in the hybrid virtual meet.
Framing the right guidelines: Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General – Research, ICRISAT, said, “I see this as a very timely meeting with policymakers to set guidelines to ensure genetic purity for the benefit of seed producing agencies associated with seed production and dissemination of these two varieties. This is a great opportunity for breeders to take timely action and follow these guidelines to help the farmers, the industry and the government system in the area of cultivation.’’
Paving the way for trait-based certification: “India has been focusing on commercialization of biofortified crop cultivars and trait-based segregation helps to procure high-quality material right from the seed stage. We need to have a mechanism for trait-based seed certification so that the consumer gets the product having the target nutritional trait. The output from this meeting will help the Government of India to set guidelines for ‘trait-based certification’ in the country,” said Dr DK Yadav, Assistant Director General (ADG)-Seed, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Quality assurance at each stage: Prof PK Agarwal, Vice-chancellor, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, noted that engagement with all stakeholders leads to establishing the high oleic groundnut value chain in the country with high quality standards. Dr Sanjeev Gupta, ADG (Oilseeds and Pulses- ICAR) said the there is a growing demand for high oleic groundnut varieties among traders, processors and consumers and the guidelines will aid quality seed production.
Research updates, on-farm performance and seed sharing: ICRISAT scientist Dr Janila Pasupuleti informed about research efforts to combine the high oleic trait with other market traits like higher blanchability, easy removal of testa from kernels and desired kernel size. Farmers in Gujarat growing Girnar 4 harvested higher pod yield than local cultivars during the rainy season in 2021 and so far, ICRISAT shared about 200 high oleic groundnut lines with collaborators from 11 countries, she said.
Proceedings of the meeting: Dr SK Bera, Director of ICAR-Directorate of Groundnut Research, shared the guidelines for testing of genetic purity in high oleic groundnut seed production including sampling methods for various classes of seeds at the meeting held on 7 December. The National Seeds Corporation (NSC) has taken up the seed increase of Girnar 4 and indicated interest in taking up the seed production of the high oleic varieties. Near-infrared spectroscopy was identified as the most cost-effective method and a robust, non-destructive method of ascertaining the oleic acid content in groundnut kernels.