The agricultural developments in India are occurring at never before seen pace. With the latest progress and advancements in Indian agriculture history, the country is embarking on new heights globally. India is home to more than 1.39 billion; hence the agricultural sector needs to be strong to feed such large population.
The latest advancement happened recently as PM Modi released India’s first-ever genetically modified rice variety on 28th September 2021. The rice varieties PUSA Basmati 1979 and PUSA Basmati 1985, developed by scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), can save a lot of water and require less labour compared to conventional implants as they can be grown directly.
Understanding the development of non-GM rice variety
Both Basmati rice varieties, PUSA 1979 and 1985, are developed from the cross of PUSA 1121 and 1509, respectively. Moreover, Robin, the drought-resistant variety, is developed from Nagina-22. There is a massive disruption caused in the paddy crops while using Imazethapyr as a herbicide. The chemical is mainly used for weed control and its management. But the Imazethapyr can’t be used on normal paddy crops since the chemical can’t distinguish between the crop and weed.
Therefore, with the development of herbicide-resistant rice variety, the chemical will only work on the weed. This herbicide tolerance is possible due to the presence of the ALS (acetolactate synthase) gene. The ALS gene in rice is responsible for coding the protein that later syntheses into amino acids.
All these factors contribute to less labour and water use for raising the paddy crops since the farmers won’t have to go to nurseries. Paddy cultivation is labour-intensive and requires a lot of water as the holes and fields of the paddy need to be provided with sufficient water to maintain a water level of 4-5 cm. All this adds up to the farmers.