Oil crops program suggest 2 new breeds after 10 yrs
SARLAHI, Sept 29: After a hiatus of ten years, the National Oil Crops Investigation Program based in Nawalpur, Sarlahi is prepared to recommend two new breeds of oil crops suitable for production in the Tarai region.
According to the program´s Investigation Coordinator, Rewati Raman Chaudhari, after the investigation of 10 long years, the new breeds of oil crops--Shanti of Mustard and Samriddi of Rayo--are ready for cultivation.
Earlier, the program had recommended mustard breeds: Type 9, Bikas, Pragati, Lumle Mustard 1, Unnati and Preeti .Similarly, Pusa Bold and Krishna, the breeds of Rayo were also recommended seven years ago.
According to Chaudhari, since its launching 36 years ago, the program has recommended 16 high breeds of different oil crops that include 6 breeds of mustard, 2 breeds of Rayo, 6 breeds of peanut, and two varieties of sesame.
Chaudhari also informed that the program is currently researching on the possibility of producing high breed of peanuts in coordination with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
“In the beginning, the research on oil crops was going good, but the program suffered a set back during the Maoist insurgency. The scarcity of human resource and financial crunch has curtailed progress,” said Choudhari.
A senior scientist associated with the program, Devendra Chaudhari informed that three positions, including one senior scientist, have remained vacant for long, while four other officers are away on deputation at other projects.
The program has also suffered from the scarcity of the land, affecting the research and investigating. Out of 35 hectors of land currently used by the program, 30 hectors are useful for oil crops production.
According to Devendra Chaudhari, the program has been working to improve the breeds of oil crops as well as to produce new varieties of rice, maize, wheat and pulses. He further claimed that the program is producing 5-6 metric tons of seeds of various crops and distributing it to local farmers every year.
The government established the program in 1976 with the aim of producing new varieties of better yielding oil crops that are high in oil content and suitable for different climes of the country. The program focuses on developing innovative technologies for crops breeding, monitoring crops´ quality and conducting feasibility surveys for the possibility of the oil crops production in the different parts of the country.
However, the locals say though the program was working well in the beginning, it has now virtually stopped. And many people say the program is irrelevant at a time when vegetable and sugarcane farming is growing in the district.
Beni Bahadur Karki, a local lawyer, blamed that the program has utterly failed to provide suggestions and recommend new breeds of crops to the farmers. He was of the opinion that the program should be changed to support the growing production of vegetables and sugarcane in Sarlahi and the adjoining districts.