BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) will soon ink a pact with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to produce rice varieties high in nutritional value. The MoU comes in wake of malnutrition deaths at Nagada village in Jajpur district.
Informing this at the 36th convocation of the university on Monday, Vice-Chancellor of OUAT SN Pasupalak said the university along with IRRI will take up the research project on developing a rice variety which will have a high nutrition value.
“Rice being the staple food of tribals, the new variety will help in improving the nutrition status of mothers as well as children,” said Pasupalak. Till date, OUAT has released 151 high-yield crops including two paddy varieties - Pratibha and Pradeep. OUAT will release 15 new varieties of crops that include pest and saline resistant varieties, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Director General of IRRI Matthew K Morell said the research institute can contribute towards the improvement of rice quality in Odisha, which is open for agriculture transformation. “We are trying to work on introducing stress-tolerant varieties, remote sensing technology and affordable crop insurance for farmers of the State,” he said.
Morell received an honorary degree from the university along with Director General of Indian Meteorological Department KJ Ramesh and Secretary of Indian Council of Agricultural Research Trilochan Mohapatra.
Sources said the agriculture university has introduced Experiential Learning Programme (ELP) under which, 12 agriculture models have been selected and these will be used to give practical training to students. This apart, the university has decided to give a scholarship of Rs 3,000 per month to young entrepreneurs with support from the State Government for them to develop business models in the sector.