Saturday, April 1, 2023

ICAR wants research on low-nicotine tobacco


28 January 2023

KAKINADA: ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) deputy director general Dr. Tilak Raj Sharma on Friday asked Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI) to develop tobacco varieties that grow within a shorter duration and have low nicotine content. At present the crop period is six months.

He appreciated CTRI for expanding its research to other commercial crops like turmeric, chillies, castor and ashwagandha, apart from tobacco.

Addressing a two-day XII Group Meeting of All India Network Research Project on Tobacco (AINPT), jointly organised by ICAR and CTRI, Tilak Raj underlined that tobacco is a model crop and unique in its character, with scope for additional research into its genomics, molecular mapping and marker selection.

He called for studies in using solar as source of energy for tobacco curing, so that dependence on wood can be reduced and seed production enhanced. Every needy farmer must be able to get quality seed without facing any shortage, he underlined.

Tilak Raj pointed out that income from tobacco crop has already doubled. He advised CTRI officials to publicise success stories of tobacco farmers for the benefit other farmers and stakeholders.

Presiding over meeting, CTRI director Dr. M. Seshu Madhav underlined that tobacco adds revenues to the nation exchequer. He presented details of AINPT’s achievements and ways of growing different tobacco types in various agro-climatic zones.

ICAR assistant director general Dr. R.K. Singh said in view of demand for flue cured Virginia (FCV) and burley tobacco, research must be focussed on development of high-yielding varieties with low nicotine content.

Subject experts Dr. Lakshminarayana, Dr V.R.M. Rao, Dr. J.A.V. Prasada Rao, Dr. U. Sreedhar, CTRI principal scientist V.S.G.R. Naidu and Dr. Satyavani were among those present.