Discuss the applications of biotechnology in the agriculture and allied sectors.

Approach

Introduce by mentioning the need for biotechnology in agriculture and allied sectors

Explain how biotechnology can be used in agriculture and allied sectors.

Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer :

Agriculture along with its allied sectors is the largest source of livelihood in India. Biotechnology can be instrumental in improving productivity and modernising these sectors. The National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 has a special focus on the agriculture and the allied sectors.

The applications of biotechnology are manifold in this regard:

Crop farming:

oProductivity of the crops is enhanced using genomics information and interfaces with wide hybridisation, molecular mapping, etc.

oCrops can be made less input intensive and less prone to biotic and abiotic stresses.

oNutritional value of the crops can also be enhanced.

Animal Rearing:

oThe health and productivity of Livestock and Poultry can be enhanced.

oBiotechnology can ensure good breeding and reproductive technologies.

oDisease resistance in indigenous stocks e.g. cattle, chicken, buffalo, sheep pigs etc. is being enhanced.

oFeed and fodder enrichment can be done by enhancing its nutritional value.

Aquaculture:

oMicro-diets being developed for larviculture, which is used as food for fish stock.

oEnrichment of aqua-feed with microbial enzymes which is cost effective at the same time.

oEnsuring the health of the aquaculture environment and of the aquatic animals

oDNA marker technology is being used in various species for trait characterisation related to growth, disease resistance and salinity tolerance and could be exploited for enhancing productivity

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants:

oBiotechnology helps in understanding the mechanism of action of medicinal plant based drugs, understanding the biosynthesis pathways for commercial application, botanical pesticides & insecticides and studies on genetic diversity.

oGenomic resources on medicinal and aromatic plants can be generated to enhance the content of the therapeutically important products.

oMedicinal and aromatic plants based products can be developed for human and animal healthcare.

There are a number of more applications of the biotechnology in the agriculture and the allied sectors which can significantly contribute towards the goal of doubling the farmers’ income in near future. The need to the hour is efficiently leveraging the present technology and adequately investing for innovative research in this area.

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