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Union Minister Inaugurates National Speed Breeding Crop Facility at NABI, Mohali

Mohali: Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of Science & Technology, inaugurated the groundbreaking “National Speed Breeding Crop Facility” at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) in Mohali today. This state-of-the-art facility, a first of its kind, marks a significant step towards revolutionizing crop development and enhancing agricultural productivity.

In his address as the chief guest, Dr. Jitendra Singh emphasized the initiative’s alignment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to double farmers’ income, ensure economic empowerment, and promote Agri-StartUps. This facility, he stated, presents farmers with the opportunity to enhance crop quality and quantity, contributing to the transformative changes in crop improvement programs.

The National Speed Breeding Crop Facility, equipped with advanced biotechnology methods, will serve all states of India, with a special focus on North Indian states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and the UT of Jammu & Kashmir. Dr. Jitendra Singh highlighted its potential to accelerate the development of advanced crop varieties that can withstand climate change, addressing the food and nutritional demands of the population through speed breeding cropping methods.

The minister underscored the significance of technology in fostering “climate-resistant crops,” allowing farmers to cultivate crops independent of seasonal constraints. He applauded the recent achievements of institutes under the Ministry of Science & Technology, citing the success of ‘Tulip’ cultivation by CSIR Palampur and the development of the ‘108-petal lotus’ by CSIR Lucknow.

“Bio-manufacturing and Bio-foundry will drive India’s future bio-economy and promote Green Growth,” said Dr. Jitendra Singh, emphasizing the Ministry’s commitment to synergize science, technology, and traditional knowledge for India’s economic growth.

Highlighting the remarkable growth of India’s bio-economy, he stated that under PM Modi, the sector has grown 13-fold in the last decade, from $10 billion in 2014 to over $130 billion in 2024. Dr. Jitendra Singh emphasized the crucial role of the agriculture sector in India’s emergence as the third-largest economy globally.

The Union Minister informed the audience about the government’s awareness of the importance of bio-economy, evident in the provision for a special scheme for bio-manufacturing in the recent ‘Vote of Account-Budget.’

Prof. Ashwani Pareek, Executive Director of NABI, explained that the speed breeding crop facility will focus on developing new varieties of crops, including wheat, rice, soybean, pea, and tomato, achieving over four generations per year through precisely controlled environmental conditions.

The facility is expected to benefit scientists, researchers, plant breeders, and progressive farmers, contributing to the adoption of new varieties with superior yield and nutritional traits. The inauguration marked a significant stride towards ensuring food security, fostering innovation, and supporting farmers’ economic prosperity.

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