A senior scientist has lambasted the procedure used to identify and release seed varieties to farmers across the country. The director of the Delhi-based Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), S K Sinha, points out in a report to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research that it is the inability of official committees to recognise the productive and fertile seed varieties that is "mainly responsible for achieving no success in varietal diversification", and not the favourite whipping-boy, research failures.
Disease-resistant and high-yield varieties are scarce even in parts of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, considered the wheat bowl of the country. In fact, there are no replacements for the most commonly used wheat variety, HD 2329, which has been around for over a decade and is becoming increasingly susceptible to diseases. Sinha claims that two superior wheat varieties, DL 803-2 and DL 802-3, developed by IARI, were summarily rejected at the All-India Wheat Researchers' Workshop held in Hissar last year.
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