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Nature India partners with ICRISAT for InterDrought-V

Cover InterDrought-VNature India is proud to be associated with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) as media partner for the fifth edition of the InterDrought conference being held in Hyderabad (February 21-25, 2017).

The conference brings togther experts from across the world to debate key issues in improving drought and other stress tolerance in crops. Scientists from around 56 countries will come together to explore the possibilities of scientific and technological applications in crop improvement.

ICRISAT Director General David Bergvinson says the conference will bring together the disciplines of plant and crop physiology, genomics, genetics and breeding. It will talk about recent advances in these fields related to plant responses to water deficit and climate change, phenotyping and genetic variability.

According to the conference chair Rajeev Varshney this is the largest conference in the InterDrought series with 850 participants from 56 countries. Earlier conferences in the series habe been held in France, Italy, China and Australia.

Nature India put together this cover for the abstract book depicting the three important elements of the drought story — the starkness of drought, its deep impact on humans and the science-driven solution to meet the challenge — drought-resilient crop varieties.

Here’s Nature India‘s editorial for the conference abstract book:

Looking for a Plan C in water-scarce times

An issue that stirs emotions among scientists, policy makers and the general public alike is ‘water’. Or, in the present times, the lack thereof.

In these water-scarce times, in India, as in many other parts of the world, the issue of groundwater depletion is a subject of concern and serious study. And so, apart from the parched patches that the world inherited from the 20th century, we are looking at times of new aridity triggered by plummeting groundwater tables. It’s actually a vicious circle – news studies are now suggesting that excessive pumping of water for agriculture may not be the reason behind the plunging groundwater levels after all. Long-term changes in monsoon rainfall could instead be influencing this, and that in turn is forcing farmers to dig deeper for water.

Why this preamble on water? Especially when water-scarcity is an issue almost embedded in the DNA of scientists attending InterDrought conferences.

Essentially because it’s nice to take a step back once a while and look at the larger canvas. For scientists and technologists working on a Plan B to counter drought – that is, to still be able to grow nutritionally-rich, drought-resistant crops – these conferences are a wonderful reminder of the big picture. Interestingly, InterDrought-V is hoping to be the largest such congregation in recent times with over 850 scientists from around 56 countries. This provides a canvas bigger than ever before to create new milestones, fortify strategies that have worked so far, and solemnly bury the ones that don’t work so well in the changing climate scenarios.

The Nature Research Group devotes significant energies to the coverage of the “Grand Challenges”, which include our coverage of climate, water and food – issues that resonate well with InterDrought-V. Nature India, a showcase of India’s science, is proud to be associated with the conference as its media partner. We hope that the conference, bringing together the who’s who of the discipline from across the world, will identify issues and concerns to evolve a futuristic Plan C for drought-friendly agriculture.

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