Tamil Nadu Agricultural University is reintroducing old varieties of seeds, and launching new varieties to meet farmers’ demands. Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy told The Hindu that earlier researchers introduced new varieties by mostly considering the increase in yield. The university has now reintroduced ‘Paiyur I’ paddy variety for the yield, and also the straw. Because the farmers needed it to feed the cattle, he said.
The State Government giving away cattle free of cost has increased the need for fodder, and this variety comes in handy. The institution has reintroduced the ‘CR 1009’ variety in the Delta districts because of its ability to withstand inundation during monsoon.
The latest releases were not just responsive to fertilizer alone, Mr. Ramasamy said. Farmers needed seeds that were drought resistant, pest resistant, and adaptable to different agro-climatic conditions.
The university was taking up seed processing to ensure that the new varieties met the farmers’ expectation.
Another aspect that the university has been concentrating on was the synchronised maturity where the crops mature at the same time, enabling farmers to save on labour, and harvesting cost. This applies to pulses too.
In conducting the trials, the university was taking farmers’ as partners as it wants them to try the new varieties. It supports them with a buy-back system wherein the university will buy the seeds from farmers.
This way, the university will be able to cut down the time taken to introduce new varieties from seven to five years, he said.