"If the country has to be food self-reliant, then it is imperative to embrace nuclear agriculture technology, especially when the agriculture land is getting scarce and demand for food is growing exponentially," Suresh G Bhagwat, Head, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division of BARC said.
"India needs to boost its food production as well as ensure its safety and fair distribution to the increasing population. Nuclear radiation-based technologies can contribute to this effort very significantly," he said.
According to Bhagwat, one of the major benefits of radiation effects on plants is enhancement of genetic variability, which can be harnessed to develop new varieties of crops like cereals, pulses and oilseeds with desirable characters such as increased yield, disease resistance, early maturity, salinity or water stress tolerance etc.
These 41 varieties of different crops developed by BARC's Nuclear Agriculture and Biotechnology Division at Trombay, in collaboration with some of the agriculture universities in
different states have been gazette-notified by the Union Ministry of Agriculture for commercial cultivation by farmers in different states. BARC has also developed several protocols for micro propagation of elite varieties of banana.


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