New Delhi: The Minister of State for Agriculture and farmers welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala in a written reply to a question on research in food production in Lok Sabha stated that the ICAR is well aware about the fact and dedicated research is being carried out to enhance food production through National Agricultural Research System. The NARS is continuously developing improved varieties, value added products, production and protection technologies which resulted to increase production and productivity of food crops in the country. As per second advanced estimate a record production of 277.48 mt of food grains and 305.42 mt fruits and vegetables have been achieved in the country during 2017-18 which provides food and nutritional security to people of the country. ICAR is initiating the new research programme in the areas of Hybrid technology, Transgenic, Molecular Breeding, Gene Editing, Agro-biodiversity and Bio-fortification etc. to fulfil the future food requirement of the ever growing population of the country.
Replying to a sub question on whether the Government has identified the States which are environmentally more suitable for cultivation of bananas and sugarcane other than the current major producing states, the Minister of State informed that Banana & Sugarcane are being cultivated in Tropical and subtropical areas of the country due to suitable agro-climatic conditions and availability of adequate irrigation facility.
The Government has recognized the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand etc. as non-traditional states for banana cultivation. States where banana was grown as a back-yard crop have also taken up commercial cultivation especially North Eastern states like Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Sugarcane is being cultivated mainly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana. However there is very little scope to extend the sugarcane area in other states of the country.
The Government is encouraging banana cultivation through sensitization, training, supply of quality planting material and other inputs. Besides, Govt. has introduced CHAMAN (Co-ordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management Using geoiNformatics) Scheme for 7 horticultural crops (Potato, Onion, Chilli, Tomato, Mango, Banana and Citrus) in 12 major states in 180 districts to carry out research on horticultural crop condition studies, diseases assessment and precision farming.