The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the last week of February 2017 announced that about 30-35 per cent of the annual crop yield in India gets wasted because of pests.
The announcement was made by P.K. Chakrabarty, Assistant Director General (plant protection and biosafety) of the ICAR.
Chakrabarty also announced that among such pests, nematodes had recently emerged as a major threat to crops in the country and they caused loss of 60 million tonnes of crops annually. Moreover, such large-scale crop-loss was having an adverse effect on the agricultural biosafety which was “paramount to food security.”
Chakrabarty made the revelations at the XIII Annual Group Meeting of All India Co-ordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Nematodes in Cropping System.
What are nematodes?
• Nematodes are microscopic worms many of which are parasites.
• They can be difficult to distinguish. However, more than 25000 of their species have been described, of which more than half are parasitic. Total number of nematode species has been estimated to be about 1 million.
• Unlike flatworms, nematodes have tubular digestive systems with openings at both ends.
• Nematodes have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine (salt water) to fresh water, to soils, and from the Polar Regions to the tropics. They have also adapted to the highest to the lowest of elevations.
About Indian Council of Agricultural Research
• The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India.
• The Council reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Union Ministry of Agriculture.
• The body’s President is the Union Minister of Agriculture.
• ICAR is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.