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India aims to raise wheat output to 90 mn tn by 2020

Press Trust of India  |  Karnal 

India, which aims to achieve 90 million tonnes of wheat production by 2020, is looking at newer technologies and agricultural practices adopted in other growing countries including Australia, a government research body said.

"Despite Australia being a small country with an annual wheat production of 12-13 million tonnes, it has developed farm practices in wheat that Indian farmers can learn and adopt here," Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR) Project Director S S Singh told reporters here.

India, the world's second biggest wheat producer after China, is heading towards harvesting a record 81.47 million tonnes of the produce in the 2010-11 crop year.

"The country aims to enhance wheat output to 90 million tonnes by 2020 and is keeping its eyes open to new technologies and efficient agri-practices around the world," Singh said at the closing ceremony of the two-day India-Australia Programme on wheat. 

During the two-day programme, farm scientists from Australia and India exchanged ideas and ways for enhancing wheat production in their respective countries.

Australian scientists visited wheat fields in Haryana and interacted with farmers.

Terming India-Australian partnership in wheat research as of great significance, DWR's Singh said "the world has to come together not only for wheat research but for other crops too."

India has been impressed by Australian wheat breeding exercise, efficient cultivation techniques in waterlogging situation and work related to rust, he said, adding that the two countries have been working since 2007 to improve wheat production. 

Leading a dozen Australian farm scientists, Research Programme Manager for Crop Improvement, Paul Fox said, "The two countries share common bio-physical conditions with similarities in soil and climate, which help in jointly planning for enhancing wheat yields".

He spoke of how India's rice experience helped Australia improve yields from one tonne per hectare to two tonnes. 

"Also, the rainfed wheat farming in peninsular India has been a good learning point for Australia, which has over 85 per cent of the wheat area under rainfed," he added.  

Farm scientist from India and Australia have identified a new stem rust resistance SR22 gene in wheat crop and are working jointly to develop new varieties which have potential to resist global warming, the DWR said.

First Published: Wed, February 16 2011. 16:59 IST