The particulars of its organization, functions and duties

Abiotic stresses like drought, temperature extremes, floods, salinity, acidity, mineral toxicity, and nutrient deficiency are threatening agricultural, livestock, fisheries and others production globally posing challenges in sustaining even the current productivity levels, let alone further enhancement. Recognizing the magnitude of the problem, many countries have already initiated special research programmes and even set up dedicated research institutes to embark upon the mitigation of abiotic stresses on production. Being a tropical country, India is more challenged with penultimate combinations of abiotic stresses spatially and temporally. The country is experiencing productivity declines due to droughts, floods, and high and low temperatures, etc. which are major limitations in maintaining food security. The climate change is very likely to aggravate the adverse impacts of abiotic stresses further. Therefore there is an urgent need to take up focused research on this important area in the National Agricultural Research System (NARS).

Although several research institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural research (ICAR) and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) are working on abiotic stresses, the efforts are far too inadequate considering the magnitude of the problem. The research of tackling the abiotic stresses most of the times is on isolated lines, even though the multiple abiotic stresses occur in conjunction. Moreover, during the last decade, several new tools in the areas of biotechnology, nanotechnology, remote sensing, information technology, and polymer sciences have become available for application in crop improvement and crop production, soil and water management etc. Therefore it is of national importance to not only initiate high quality research programme which is of global standard in this important area, but also capture, synthesize, adapt, and apply the technological advancements taking place outside the NARS. Conjunctively, it is also indispensable to build up human resources through education and capacity building to address the all the challenges of abiotic stress management.

Mandate

“It develops insight into background, hypotheses to mitigate, strategies to incorporate with a foresight and constitutionally acceptable policy issues with practice of climatically adaptable farming systems to build sustainable and profitable livelihood in stressed environments. "

The mandate of the institute is to enhance the capacity for abiotic stress management through basic, strategic, and policy support research.

·         To undertake basic and strategic research on management of abiotic stresses of crop plants, animals, fishes and micro-organisms through genetic, biotechnological and nano technological tools and agronomic methods for enhanced sustainable productivity, food/feed quality and farm profitability adopting integrated interdisciplinary approaches 

·         To develop human resources of high quality as an academic institute 

·          To develop a Global Center of Excellence by establishing linkages and networking with national and international institutes/agencies and

·         To act as repository of information on abiotic stress and management.

 

Strategies on Major Concerns

The operational strategy would be to focus on basic research on various abiotic stresses faced in the country, strategic human resource development for long term tackling of stressed resources, shared database, and amelioration approaches using frontier technologies with the participation of wide network of Indian and international institutes involving visiting fellowships and exchange programmes. The institute shall have a comprehensive mandate of characterization of the extent of occurrence of various abiotic stressed in the country impacting the three sectors of agriculture on a continuous basis and carry out basic and strategic research that will lead to development technologies for mitigation and adaptation of crops, livestock , horticulture, fisheries and micro-organisms to such stresses. Such technologies and products will be tested through the NARS and provided to all stake holders. The objectives and strategies follow.

A.    To assess and quantify the effects of major abiotic stresses on agriculture, develop a repository of information and serve as a center of knowledge sharing

·         Assess extent, area and effects of abiotic stresses like drought, water logging, thermal and cold waves, salinity, alkalinity, acidity, nutrient toxicities/deficiencies, pollutants/contaminants including geogenics like F, Se, As etc. 

·         Quantify direct and indirect effects of abiotic stresses on productivity of crops (wheat, rice, maize, groundnut, pulses, vegetables, mango, citrus and apple), livestock & poultry, fisheries & aquaculture and biota.

·         Develop environmental characterization criteria to diagnose key climate/ soil constraints in target environments

B.    To develop screening techniques and evolve stress tolerant genotypes/ breeding stock/ strains of crops, horticulture, animals, fishes, and microorganisms through mining, and deploying novel genes for tolerance to abiotic stresses

·         Identify morpho-physiological, biochemical and molecular basis for adaptations to abiotic stress environments. 

·         Develop screening protocols for evaluating resistance and mechanisms of resistance to abiotic stresses.

·         Evolve new genotypes including transgenics resistant to abiotic stresses through public-private entenurship.

·         Analyze impact of climate change on vulnerability of new genotypes including transgenics resistant to abiotic stresses

C.    To develop technologies for mitigation of drought, other edaphic and atmospheric stresses through frontier science tools such as nanotechnology, geoinformatics etc.

·         Developing suitable soil-water-crop management technologies/strategies to mitigate abiotic stresses.

·         Value addition to farm produce for nutrition security, livelihood and income generation. 

·         To develop human resource through advanced training and capacity building on the use of modern tools and techniques in abiotic stress research and management

·         To analyze impact of climate change on vulnerability and develop adaptations/ mitigation measures.

D.    To conduct policy support research on abiotic stress management in collaboration with institutes/ organizations/ state agricultural universities

·         To analyse impact of climate change on vulnerability agriculture and allied sectors and develop adaptations / mitigation measures.