National Group Meet: Rabi 2023-24 of All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops and Utilization hosted by BAIF

Sep 26, 2023

Release of Report of “Four decades of Forage Research”

Dr. T.R. Sharma, Deputy Director General – Crop Sciences, ICAR, New Delhi chaired the inaugural session. While highlighting the highest milk producing states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh as in 2021-22, he also highlighted that green fodder made up 11.24% and dry fodder 23.4% and the need to work on for green and dry fodder management. Fodder sources were three – one, 18% grazing source, second, 54% crop residues and 28% green fodder and rain-fed systems. He identified the existing gaps as the need to broaden the genetic base of raised grasses, develop multi-cut legume varieties, develop improved varieties of perennial grasses, legumes and fodder trees and praised the geo-meditating effort at IGFRI which he stated will increase genetic variability in targeted crops, joining hands with private companies, standardization of seeds and seed production technologies, post-harvest and value addition for forage conservation, utilization and storage, development of strategies for mainstreaming of bio-fortification, he further stated. Dr. Sharma was speaking at the National Group Meet: Rabi 2023-24 of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops and Utilization (AICRPFCU) hosted by BAIF Development Research Foundation, Urulikanchan, the approved Official Centre of AICRPFCU at its Head Office at Warje, Pune.

The major activities at the BAIF Centre include development of improved forage varieties and hybrids, generation of intensive forage production technologies, fodder seed production and technology transfer in the field.

Establishment of Golden Jubilee Forage Gardens in 50 Coordinated Centres and Voluntary Centres under the Project which have been visited by more than half a lakh visitors since 2020, identification of 114 forage varieties during 2017-2023, 53 forage production technologies and 1305 forage technology demonstrations. Genomic assisted breeding and speed breeding by Indian Grassland and Forage Research Institute (IGFRI), Jhansi and under the AICRP Project, commercialization of various technologies to private companies, Front Line Demonstrations (FLDs) and seed hubs in forage crops, development plans for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and North Eastern Hills were some of the major recommendations. The proposed activities included summer trials for fodder oats and Lucerne in dry temperate regions, off-season nursery for generation advancement and standardisation for bio-fortification in forage varieties such as maize, oats and pearl millets, were the significant achievements of the Technical Programme implemented during Rabi 2022-23 highlighted by Dr. V.K. Yadav, Project Coordinator, AICRPFCU.

Dr. Amaresh Chandra, Director, IGFRI and Special Guest on the occasion, shared the plan of increasing the number of Golden Jubilee Forage Gardens from 50 to 100 gardens and the need for reliable data for identifying the deficiency in green and dry fodder and also in millets and grassland development.

Dr. Bharat Kakade, President and Managing Trustee, BAIF and Chief Guest at the Inaugural Session, proposed a Voluntary Centre for Millets and also highlighted the more than four- decade old association of BAIF with ICAR, development of nationally released promising fodder varieties of BAIF Napier and BAIF Bajra.  He stated the importance of the landscape management programme undertaken by BAIF to address the issues of land degradation, vegetation cover and soil health and especially the grassland management in the country. He also highlighted that BAIF has already planted more than one million fruit and forestry plants during the current year 2023 with the small holder poor families which will fetch them an annual income in the range of Rs. 50,000 to 70,000. So far, BAIF has supported the needy farmers to develop Agro-horti-forestry (wadi) on 2.8 lakh ha area across 12 states and watershed management on 3 lakh ha area. He emphasized devising coping strategies to deal with the upcoming challenges of competing demand for green biomass and agri-residues for bio-energy production through the private sector. At the same time he mentioned the potential of fodder production along with carbon sequestration through management of 17 to 18% of pasture lands in the country.

The All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops and Utilization (AICRPFCU) was established in 1970. The coordinating unit of this research project is located at Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute (IGFRI), Jhansi. It has 22 Coordinated Centers and 25 Voluntary centers located in different agro-climatic zones of India. The project works for the development of improved forage varieties, hybrids and synthetics; technologies for sustainable forage production, forage seed production and technology transfer. The project has a mandate to coordinate multi-location testing programme at the national level with a view to identify appropriate technologies for different agro-ecological conditions, monitor research-related to problems of national and regional contexts, conduct strategic and applied research for boosting production and productivity of forages (arable rain-fed and irrigated forage crops, range grass and pasture legumes) and to function as a major service center for exchange of scientific information and research material related to forages.

Release of Annual Report of Rabi 2022-23

The Annual Report – Rabi 2022-23: All India Coordinated Research Project on Forage Crops and Utilization was released on this occasion along with other publications brought out by various coordinated centres such as “Four Decades of Forage Research: BAIF”, “Beneficial effects and management practices of millets” and “Molecular interventions for Developing Climate-Smart Crops: A forage Perspective” among others.

Mr. P. S. Takawale, Officer in charge of BAIF AICRPFCU Center and the Organizing Secretary of this National Group Meet proposed the vote of thanks. Earlier, Dr. Ashok Pande, Senior Advisor, Scientific Research and Livestock Development, BAIF welcomed the dignitaries and more than 80 participants comprising of research scientists in forage breeding, agronomy, plant protection and biochemistry from coordinated and voluntary centers of the AICRPFCU, National and State Seed Corporations, National Dairy Development Board, private seed companies and dairy farmers.

A special brainstorming session on Technological options and challenges for fodder security under present scenario was held after the inaugural session.

The two-day meet will be reviewing the work undertaken at the Coordinated Centres in various disciplines of forage crops, dissemination of technology in the field and engaging in discussions on breeder seed production to be taken up during the next season. The proposal for identification of varieties / hybrids received from various centres will be taken into consideration with focus on their release by the Varietal Identification Committee established under this Research Project. The plenary session on September 27, will focus on the recommendations which will emerge from the technical sessions.

Participants at the workshop

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