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Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

THE Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is promoting a Rs 3.3 crore project to develop new hybrids of vegetables, for increased production by small farmers. Initially, nine vegetables - tomato, brinjal, chilly, Capsicum, ladies-finger, onion, cucumber, bittergourd and cabbage - have been selected to be researched on. Studies will be carried out in four ICAR institutes and 10 agricultural universities throughout India.

Inspite ofbeing the world's secondlargest producer of vegetables, India is below the reqvisite per capita availability level. Efforts to produce indigenous hybrid seeds has been going on since 1971. Many varieties have hit commercial markets after local improvement.

Imported hybrid seeds are available through the private sector. Recent trade liberalisation and seed policies have increased the quality and quantity of seed import.

But seeds which ICAR is going to develop will also be of superior quality. They will cost less as well, enabling farmers to afford high grade seeds. Further, they will be easily transportable, disease resistant and uniform in production and adaptability.

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