1. Agriculture World

PM Modi Inaugurated Speed Breeding Facility of IRRI

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
PM Modi while inaugurating Speed Breeding Facility of IRRI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated IRRI's new state-of-the-art Speed Breeding (SpeedBreed) Facility yesterday (23 December 2021). The facility, which was established at the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi, was inaugurated during the Prime Minister's laying of the foundation stone for Amul's dairy cooperative in Karkhiyao.

What is SpeedBreed Facility?

SpeedBreed has been developed in less than two years since ISARC's inception. Speed breeding is a new strategy used by plant breeders to accelerate varietal development using advanced technologies and protocols.

This new facility, funded by the Departments of Biotechnology (DBT) and Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare (DA&FW), will accelerate the breeding of new crop varieties, allowing Indian farmers to increase their incomes while becoming less vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The facility can advance 39,200 rice plants (at a time) for 4-5 generations per year, compared to only 1-2 generations under normal conditions.

According to estimates, speed breeding can cut the time it takes to develop new varieties by 2 to 4 years. This facility will assist ISARC in developing biofortified, low GI, and resilient rice varieties at a faster rate.

ISARC is also developing rice-based products from specialty and traditional rice varieties such as Kalanamak and Black rice, such as cookies, biscuits, pasta, rice flakes, and fortified ice cream, to help diversify rural and urban consumers' diets for better nutrition and to maximize the income of farmers cultivating these traditional landraces.

About IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC):

The establishment of the ISARC in Varanasi in 2018 was a significant step forward in the strengthening of the IRRI-India partnership. ISARC has quickly evolved into a cutting-edge facility that cultivates skills and knowledge for the benefit of India.

The main priorities of this centre are grain quality, nutrition (biofortification), value chain development of landraces and traditional varieties, climate resilience, seed systems, and capacity development for various stakeholders, including women and youth.

"We are overjoyed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated our new Speed Breeding facility, which represents a quantum leap forward in ISARC's capabilities and technological capacity." "It was an honour to have the Prime Minister inaugurate our new facility after having the Prime Minister inaugurated our previous facility in 2018," said Dr. Sudanshu Singh, Director of ISARC.

Dr. Singh added that, in addition to rice, ISARC will collaborate with other institutes to expand the speed breeding facility's capabilities to other crops such as wheat, maize, soybean, chick pea, peanuts, and vegetables.

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