Bhabha Atomic Research Centre scientists are helping Tamil Nadu Agriculture University to develop a new mutant of white Ponni Rice that could deliver better yieds than the original one.
On the sidelines of an interactive session on “Radiation and Quality of Human Life’ BARC director of biomedical group K B Sainis and former head of Nuclear Agriculture and Biotech division S G Bhagwat told Express that the project to develop a smaller version of white Ponni rice and ADT 47 is currently underway.
Bhagwat said that the three-year project is being funded by Board of Research in Nuclear Science.
He said Tamil Nadu Agriculture University is looking for a dwarf variety of white Ponni which would deliver 10 to 15 per cent more yield than the original Ponni.
He said the testing and trials are going on for the new mutant. “It will take about three years,” said Bhagwat who is part of the project.
He said once the mutant is identified then trials would be done for three years. Usually these trials take nearly a decade.But since rice could be grown in two seasons, it is likely to take another three years and a number of tests before being ready for commercial production, he said.
He said the reduction in crop height would result in less consumption of water and use of fertilizers. This could also help the farmers grow more rice in the area with less water.