Coimbatore, 24 October 2011
Dr S.Ayyappan, Secretary, Dept. of Agricultural Research & Education, Govt. of India & Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi launched the Centenary celebrations of Sugarcane Breeding Institute (SBI), Coimbatore on its 99th Foundation day on 24 October 2011.
Speaking on the occasion, he recalled the contributions made by visionaries like Dr.C.A. Barber and Sir. T.S.Venkataraman to sugarcane research. He reminded that SBI being one of the oldest Institutes of ICAR fold has a rich tradition and history. The achievements of this Institute in varietal front and other sectors had been magnificent and he complemented the Scientists both past and present, for this fine achievement. He mentioned that the present need is to enhance sugarcane productivity and ensure stability in production.
There is an inevitable need for public private partnership (PPP) in research for effective technology management, he said. Cautioning the scientists on issues such climate change, which can have serious impact on productivity, Dr Ayyappan, emphasized the need for mechanization of sugarcane agriculture. Regarding agricultural education, Dr.Ayappan said that a policy paper is being prepared at ICAR, taking into consideration the manpower requirement for the next 10 years. Dr.Ayyappan assured that all necessary support would be extended by ICAR for strengthening the infrastructural facilities of this 100-year old Institute.
In his Introductory address, Dr N. Vijayan Nair, Director of Sugarcane Breeding Institue, mentioned that the Institute had made a significant impact in 1918 itself with the release of the first hybrid, Co 205 which recorded over 50% improvement in yield over native varieties. Mentioning that the Institute had developed about 2900 ‘Co’ varieties so far, many of which have become popular varieties across the country, Dr Nair informed that the Institute maintains the largest World collection of sugarcane germplasm. The Institute was the first to initiate transgenic research in sugarcane in the country, he added.
Besides releasing a number of Institute publications, the Director General also inaugurated the Centralized Biotechnology laboratory and the Transgenic glasshouse during the occasion.