A genetic scientist at Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Science (SHUATS), in Prayagraj has developed two new varieties of wheat that are very high in nutrition, need less water, are resistant to extremes of weather and also has a very low sugar content.
Mahabal Ram, 79, professor emeritus, has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath requesting him to ensure more cultivation and wider use of these nutritive-rich super wheat varieties that have already been notified by Central Variety Release Committee of the Union ministry of agriculture and are presently under limited cultivation in the state.
The two semi-dwarf high yielding varieties — SHIATS-W6 and SHUATS-W10 — are good for diabetics also since they have such low sugar content that they can be considered sugar-free.
According to Prof. Mahabal Ram, 79, “The two wheat varieties offer high yield and have higher protein, iron, fibre content while the sugar is below detection limit. They are ideal for a state like Uttar Pradesh which is still battling malnutrition and can survive extreme climate conditions like heavy rain and dry summers with high temperature.”
The agro-scientist further said that these wheat varieties can be provided to the poor through the public distribution system as well to battle malnutrition.
The two varieties are a boon amid growing concerns over falling farm output due to rise in temperature and unpredictable rainfall.
Prof. Ram, an eminent geneticist and plant breeder, said the State Variety Release Committee, Lucknow, has also formally released these two varieties for cultivation and thousands of farmers in 11 districts, including Prayagraj, Kaushambhi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Mirzapur, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur and Mahoba have started cultivating the two varieties.
“Both the varieties can tolerate high temperatures of 40 to 42 degree Celsius against 30 to 32 degrees of regular varieties sown by farmers. They can even withstand water logging for 7-8 days and still flourish,” he claimed.
The cost of production of the two varieties is 30-35 per cent less as compared to ICAR-released wheat varieties PBW 343, HD 2967 and DBW 187, he said.
In grain quality analyses, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute Mysuru found SHIATS-W6 having protein (14.31 per cent), zinc (3.44mg/100g), iron (3.54mg/100g), fibre (2.89 per cent) and sugar below detection limit i.e., free from sugar.
The SHUATS-W10 variety contains protein (12.56 per cent ), zinc (3.19mg/100g), iron (3.39mg/100g), fibre (2.49 per cent) and sugar (0.2 per cent).