Even if India were to achieve its full irrigation potential, approximately half of the cultivable area of 142 million hectares will still remain largely dependent on rainfall. It is also estimated that, by 2040, of an expected population of 1.5 billion, 500 million will live in rain-fed areas. In India, ensuring sustainability of rain-fed agriculture is therefore critical, more so in the scenario of climate change and the vulnerability of populations living in these areas.
Conventional plant breeding based on phenotypic selection has resulted in perceptible genetic change in productivity of economic product and has been effective in enhancing the economic value of major crop plants. The pace of genetic gains in yield and other complex traits is difficult to maintain if, only pre-genomics era technologies are used
Under fast changing climate, biotic and abiotic stresses pose serious threat for crop productivity. New generation crop breeding and seed-based stress mitigation approaches are required to sustain crop growth and productivity under already stressed environment. The main goal of the proposal would be to examine the options for stress mitigation strategies using new generation seed bio-priming and/or priming technologies.
Pests and disease are responsible for losses of up to 30% of global food production representing a threat to food security (Strange and Scott, 2005). The correlation between the environment and pests/diseases suggest that climate change will cause modifications in the current pests and disease scenario.
- Post-green revolution, India might be at the cross roads of food and nutritional security.
- This is arguably attributed to burgeoning population coupled with degradation of arable land resources and climate change driven production constraints. This necessitates the needs for increasing agricultural production.
- The use of precision breeding tools such as genomic selection and genome editing, models to forecast pest and diseases for their effective management, seed micro-biome enrichment technologies for mitigating biotic and abiotic stresses, biosensors for effective cultivation of crops and judicious natural resources management could help to enhance and maintain the yield levels of major crops.