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PUSA-44: A Paddy Variety with Implications

Context:

Recently, Punjab Chief Minister announced that the state will ban the cultivation of the PUSA-44 paddy variety from next year onwards.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. PUSA-44: A Paddy Variety with Implications
  2. Key Facts about the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

PUSA-44: A Paddy Variety with Implications

Development: PUSA-44 is a paddy variety that was developed in 1993 by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Widespread Adoption:

  • By the end of the 2010s, PUSA-44 had gained immense popularity among farmers in Punjab, covering a substantial portion, approximately 70 to 80%, of the paddy cultivation area.
  • Farmers have reported significantly higher yields with PUSA-44, producing nearly 85 to 100 quintals per acre, compared to the average yield of 28 to 30 quintals per acre with other varieties.
Concerns Surrounding PUSA-44:
  • Longer Duration: PUSA-44 is a long-duration paddy variety, taking around 160 days to mature, which is 35 to 40 days longer than other varieties. This extended growth period necessitates 5-6 additional cycles of irrigation.
  • Groundwater Depletion: Given Punjab’s severe groundwater depletion issue, the government aims to conserve one month of irrigation water by banning this variety.
  • Stubble Burning: PUSA-44 exacerbates the problem of stubble burning in the state. It generates approximately 2% more stubble than shorter-duration varieties, posing a significant environmental concern when cultivated on a large scale.

Key Facts about the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • Autonomous Organization: ICAR is an autonomous organization operating under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
  • Former Name: ICAR was formerly known as the Imperial Council of Agricultural Research.
  • Establishment: It was established on 16 July 1929 as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Its establishment was in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Agriculture.
  • Apex Body: ICAR serves as the apex body responsible for coordinating, guiding, and managing research and education in various fields of agriculture, including horticulture, fisheries, and animal sciences, across India.
  • National Agricultural System: ICAR oversees a vast network of agricultural institutions, including 113 ICAR institutes and 71 agricultural universities, making it one of the largest national agricultural systems globally.
  • Headquarters: The headquarters of ICAR is located in New Delhi, India.

-Source: Indian Express


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