PAU to work on new variety of paddy
Chandigarh, July 20 (PTI): With paddy cultivation in Punjab affecting the water table, Punjab Agricultural University has initiated research on a new variety of paddy which will consume 25 per cent less water without affecting the yield.
"With the assistance of biotechnology, the university has started working on a new variety of paddy which will require 25 per cent less water compared to the present varieties of paddy," a senior plant breeder at PAU has said.
Under the project 'Enhancing Water Usage Efficiency and Productivity in Rice', the scientists would collect germ plasm lines from different states such as Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Uttaranchal and thereafter hyberdisation of these lines would be done in a bid to develop a new variety.
It will take five years to develop such a variety, a PAU official said.
In Punjab, the water table is receding at an alarming rate primarily due to early transplantation of paddy. From 1974 to 1985, the water table receded by 1 meter and between 1985 and 2000 it went down by another 4 meters especially in the area where about 75 per cent of rice is cultivated.
Presently, the water table in 95 per cent of the central zone of Punjab has dipped to over 30 feet, according to a study conducted by PAU. Despite several measures undertaken by scientists to restrict paddy cultivation in Punjab, the total area under paddy cultivation has grown to 26 lakh hectares from 22 lakh hectares a couple of years ago.
Agri. & Commodities