Wheat and Barley in India covered around 31mha (Wheat: 30.23 mha and Barley: 0.59 mha) during 2015-16 crop season and accounts for about 38 percent of the country’s total food grains production. An estimated 93.50 mt of wheat and 1.62 mt of barley were produced during the year 2015-16 with a positive growth of 8.06% over previous year. This increased production can be attributed to the increased yield of 12.47 percent despite a fall in the crop acreage by 3.94 percent during 2015-16. th The honorable prime minister of India in his 70 Independence Day speech congratulated scientists for development of improved crop varieties. This is for the rst time that PM of the nation has recognized the good work being carried out by ICAR and its institutes in agriculture. He further called for developing technologies and genotypes which can produce more crops per drop of water and can save fertilizer, thereby, reducing the cost of cultivation to farmers.
Green Revolution, launched in the mid-1960s has made us self-sufcient in food production, but was mainly conned to Northwestern plains. The similar benets have to be extended to eastern India in the form of “second green revolution”. This has to be achieved through harnessing the water potential for enhancing agriculture production, yield maximization of wheat per unit area by improving agronomy, better water utilization and promotion of recommended agriculture technologies and the package of practices by addressing the underlying constraints. In addition to targeting high yields, we have to continuously monitor the evolution of wheat diseases and pests in the time of changing climatic conditions. For the identication and incorporation of rust resistance genes into cultivars has to go hand in hand. Frontline demonstrations on wheat conducted at various zones indicated that use of improved technology can denitely increase the production to the tune of 20% in stressful areas of north eastern plains zone and central zone. More focused extension activities are required in these areas for extending the gains. Similarly, seed replacement rate is also desirable to extend the gain.
The prevention of post-harvest losses, identication of value chains for wheat and barley, and integration of modern biotechnological tools with conventional breeding can bring new gains. Through these, India can not only meet the ever growing demand of wheat and barley but can also earn the additional foreign exchange by exporting the surplus production of these crops.