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She was particularly impressed by the RS Paroda Genebank when ICRISAT Director General described it as a treasure trove of genes useful to crop improvement for sustainable food production and improved livelihoods, par..

31 Dec 2012

HYDERBAD (Commodity Online): It is quite unusual for Olympic stars to campaign for anything other than consumer products for which they carry home a rich bounty. For the same reason India’s ace badmintor player, Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal’s proved to be different from the rest of the crowd when she accepted the invitation of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to spread the message of genetic conservation to fight hunger and poverty.

On a tour of the ICRISA facilities on Sunday, she said,“ICRISAT’s plant genetic conservation initiatives illustrate the value and use of biodiversity in the fight against hunger and poverty, and its impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics.”  

Nature has truly blessed us with a rich genetic diversity, which is unique and important in sustaining life in this planet. This visit gave me a better understanding of the importance of plant genetic conservation in sustaining and using genetic diversity for global food security,” Ms Newhal added.

She was particularly impressed by the RS Paroda Genebank when ICRISAT Director General described it as a treasure trove of genes useful to crop improvement for sustainable food production and improved livelihoods, particularly in marginal environments, and genes that can provide climate resilience to future crop varieties through increased drought, heat and salinity tolerance, and pest and disease resistance.
 
ICRISAT has been conducting research-for-development initiatives with partners globally for the past 40 years to increase agricultural production in the semi-arid regions of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. ICRISAT’s genebank, one of the world’s largest public-funded genebanks, preserves seeds of more than 120,000 accessions of pearl millet, sorghum, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut and small millets (finger millet, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet, and little millet), that are kept as in-trust collections on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), for the benefit of the present and future generations. It has also distributed more than 1.4 million seed samples to 146 countries, restored about 55,000 germplasm lines to 9 countries, and released 830 cultivars in 79 countries from its germplasm and breeding materials.


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