Despite having potential of being the largest producer of rice in the country,researchers at Calcutta University and Bose Institute said that Bengal’s rice production at 3 tonne per hectare is far below than states like Tamil Nadu and Punjab.
While Punjab has registered the highest yield of rice per acre,Tamil Nadu is the highest producer of rice in the country.
Bengal has the potential to outshine both these states due to its high fertile plains,availability of water and moderate temperature required for high yield of rice, said Dr Swapan Datta,Department of Botany,University of Calcutta.
He,however,added that a number of factors like small land holdings and nearly 10 per cent loss of the yield due to sheath blight and bacterial growth are forcing the state to get poor yield per hectare.
But researchers hope that the introduction of the genetically-modified rice will bring about positive change in the situation.
Dr Sankha Das,who is with Bose Institute,said on-field trials of the genetically-modified rice would start within a year or two in the state. Apart from rice,research is also on to introduce modified potato and mustard in the state, added Das
According to experts,the GM seeds,apart from increasing the productivity per hectare,would also be resistant to bacterial growth on the crop. Bengal needs agro-based industry. But for that we have to put proper technology,management and mechanism in place, said Datta.
Citing the example of BT cotton,the researchers said that nearly 82 per cent of cotton yield in country comes from modified seeds that were introduced in 2002. At present,India is fourth largest producer of cotton in the world.
They said that research is also on to introduce genetically-modified rice that can be cultivated in the salty waters of the Sundarbans.