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NEW DELH (Asia Pulse) - In what could provide major relief to farmers
reeling under drought, International Crop Research Institute for the
Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is set to launch field trials of
genetically-modified short-term and high yielding groundnuts from next
season and pigeon pea in 2006, August 2004.
"The groundnut variety is ready for field trials from next seasons (2004)
and we are in talks with partners including Indian Council of Agricultural
Research in India," ICRISAT Director General William Dar told reporters
He said the field trials for the GM pigeon pea variety will start in 2006.
The two varieties are short-term of a duration of 90-100 days, and can raise
the yield by 25-30 per cent, Dar said after signing of Memorandum of
Association between ICRISAT and Asian Media Information and Communication of
He said the groundnut variety is resistant to Indian peanut clump virus
while the Bt variety of pigeon pea is resistant to pod borer Helicoverpa.
Dar said that the organisation has also developed a variety of pearl millet,
suitable for farmers in water scarce Rajasthan and gives an "outstanding"
yield of 1.5 to two tonnes per hectare in 90 to 100 days against the common
duration of 165 days.
"We have also developed a variety of sweet sorghum which is better than
sugarcane in manufacturing ethanol, helping the country's energy needs and
helping the environment," he said.
Advocating the use of GM seeds, he said they not only give better yields but
also help the environmnet and farmers by reducing use of pesticides and
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