Drought tolerant maize to insure farmers from crop failures

Dr Vivek and Dr Girish Krishna from CIMMYT and Dr B Muralidhara Rao from GEO Biotechnologies have initiated a project aiming to develop drought tolerant maize hybrids.


Mr K S Narayanaswamy, chairman and CEO, GEO Biotechnologies India Pvt Ltd

Maize is mostly grown as a rain-fed crop in India, and during Kharif season every year, out of which nearly 60 percent of the area is sown. In most of the areas, expansion happens in Kharif season, since Kharif is considered as the most favorable season for maize.

However, Kharif season crops are mostly vulnerable to drought conditions because of scanty rains coupled with poorly distributed rainfall patterns. Development of drought tolerant maize is an important need for helping India to stabilize maize production, and insure farmers from total crop failure.

In this project, the main objective was to identify candidate gene markers for further development of breeder ready markers for traits of interest and identification of inbred lines with enhanced pace and ultimately develop drought tolerant hybrids.

The project was initiated in December 2012. This project has been in collaboration with CIMMYT with DBT's assistance on association mapping and whole genome MARS for the development of abiotic stress resilient Maize.

Dr Vivek and Dr Girish Krishna from CIMMYT and Dr B Muralidhara Rao from GEO Biotechnologies had initiated this project.

The project was aimed at bringing in drought tolerant hybrid maize seeds and develop drought tolerant maize hybrids which can be commercially sold to the farmers.

The outcomes and the methodology adopted in this project will benefit research in the area of developing drought tolerant crops in the future.

Mr KS Narayanaswamy, chairman and CEO, GEO Biotechnologies India, said, "Public-private partnerships will go a long way in the development of biotech industry in India. Better quality of work, application of technology, and efficient use of infrastructure have been the benefits. The partnerships are only recent in many cases, and the outcomes will enhance the associations to a greater extent over a period of time."


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