Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has requested the Centre to set up a national level pulses research institute in the state.
In a letter to Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare minister Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said pulses are grown in about 20.88 lakh hectares in Odisha – 6.86 lakh hectares in Kharif and 14.02 lakh hectares in Rabi— which is higher than most states in India.
Stating that mung, urad, arhar, kulthi, gram, cowpea, field pea and lentil are some of the major pulses grown in the state, Patnaik said the state has about 16 lakh hectares of rice fallow which can be easily utilized for cultivation of pulses during Rabi season.
Drawing the attention of the Union minister, the chief minister said the Seed Replacement Rate (SLR) of pulses is generally low due to non-availability of suitable cold tolerant varieties in the state as pulses are grown in large areas during winter season as pyrra crops.
“Though many indigenous local varieties of pulses suitable to these climatic conditions are being used, the yield potential of these varieties is below the national average. Considering the above, there is a need for research on pulses in the state for development of suitable varieties to enhance the income of the farmers,” he pointed out.
He informed that the state has taken several steps to bridge the yield gap in pulses like inviting various national and international institutes to develop suitable location-specific new varieties for the state, and signed MoUs with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and National Seeds Corporation (NSC) for taking up seed production within the state.
Keeping the potential in Odisha for augmenting pulse production for the country, the chief minister requested the Union minister to consider setting up of a national level pulse research institute or a branch of Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur in the state so that suitable varieties can be developed in the state in a time bound manner, which will ensure increase in production and productivity of pulses in the state, in particular, and the country as a whole.