ICAR-NRCB, Trichy successfully launched a Bioversity International funded collaborative project on "Improvement of banana for small holders farmers in the Great Lake Region of Africa - Indian Component - Breeding for Improved banana with Fusarium wilt resistance"on 01.04.2017 in the august presence of Dr. N.K. Krishnakumar, Bioversity International -Regional Representative for South & Central Asia, Dr. W.S. Dhillon, Asst. Director General (Horticulture), ICAR, New Delhi. All the Indian partners were also present during this launching function.
Dr. S. Uma, Director, NRCB in her introductory remarks mentioned that India is joining fifteen other countries spread across all the five continents. This project involves four different partner Institutes and they are ICAR-NRCB, Trichy, ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru and KAU, Kannara, Kerala. She also made a mention about the role to be played by the Indian Scientists in developing Fusarium wilt resistant Indian bananas to cater to the needs of the farmers.
Dr. N. K. Krishna Kumar, Regional Coordinator, Bioversity International briefed the gathering about the genesis of the project. Banana is the major staple food in many African countries and also in India. Banana cultivation has made enormous contribution in improving the economy of the farmers in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. However, he expressed his deep concern about the evolving of new races of Fusarium wilt that would threaten banana industry world-wide and urged the scientists to breed bananas with resistance to the newly emerging races of Fusarium. He also cautioned about the IPR issues in the context of germplasm exchange.
Dr. W. S. Dhillon, Asst. Director General, ICAR, New Delhi declared the launch of the Project in India. In his address he mentioned that the horticulture sector in the country grown rapidly in last 15 years with a production of 286 m tonnes surpassing the food grain production which ensured nutritional security of the people. He also emphasized the need to develop drought and cold tolerant bananas, emphasized on effective strategies for technology transfers, which is very essential for enhancing the productivity and income of farmers.
On this occasion, an exhibition showcasing the maximum diversity available in banana was arranged which captured the interests of all participants and it was the highlight of the launching programme. Around 90 varieties of banana were displayed. This included commercial varieties, under utilized unique land races like Poovillachundan (AB), Manoranjitham (AAA), Matti (AA), plantain and cooking types etc.
Dr. B. Padmanaban, Principal Scientist welcomed the gathering and Dr. J. Poorani, Principal Scientist proposed the vote of thanks.