India needs nuclear agri tech for food security, climate-resilient crops: Union Min Jitendra Singh

New Delhi: The Minister of State (Independent charge) of the Ministry of DONER, Minister of State for PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions; Atomic Energy & Space, Jitendra Singh has called for wider applications of nuclear technology in everyday life.

Singh was addressing a roadshow on Advances in Nuclear Food and Agriculture, organised by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), here today. The Secretary, DAE, K N Vyas and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.

Singh said that the vision of the founding father of India’s nuclear program, Homi Bhabha, was not to limit the nuclear research to the confines of the laboratory but to take the technology to the outside world for the benefit of mankind.

He stated that way back in the 1950s when Bhabha said that our nuclear program is based on the peaceful use of atomic energy, the world did not believe us. But today we are running a successful and safe nuclear energy programme.

Vyas informed that the roadshow aims at showcasing the societal applications that DAE is pursuing.

During the day, various sessions were held on nuclear agriculture and crop improvement, Agri-technologies for plant and soil health and Radiation technologies for food preservation.

The topics included crop improvement in oilseeds, BARC’s contribution in pulses, mutation breeding in cereals and millets, radiation-based technologies for augmenting crop growth and water conservation, biopesticides and biofertilizers, technologies for improving plant and soil health, radiation processing of fruits and vegetables, radiation processing for microbial safety, among others.

Plenary lectures were also held on challenges in seed production and deployment and revival of traditional varieties using radiation-induced mutation breeding.

Indian agriculture is confronted with new challenges like rising population, unpredictable climate changes, changing food habits and growing urbanization. Apart from supplying adequate food, it will now be a major task to provide nutritious food to achieve ‘zero hunger’.

Towards achieving food security, radiation-based crop improvement and food preservation technologies would contribute significantly to enhance crop productivity and reduce food losses. Development of climate-resilient, nutrient-rich varieties with resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in crop plants will address most of the concerns.

Senior Officers from the Ministries of Agriculture, Food Processing, Fertilizers and Chemicals, FSSAI and concerned government agencies attended the meeting.

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The ID Staff

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