The goal of National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) launched under the aegis of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is to facilitate accelerated and sustainable transformation of Indian agriculture by collaborative development and application of agricultural innovation by the public research organizations in partnership with the farmer's groups, the private sector, the civil society organizations and other stakeholders. NAIP aims to achieve the objectives by supporting four components. Component 4 under NAIP ensures that Agriculture in India is a gamble with weather. Pest associated crop losses are higher in the tropics which are currently estimated between 10-30% of the total agricultural production valued at Rs 1400 billion in 2007. There are additional costs in the form of pesticides applied for pest control, currently valued at Rs 68 billion. Knowledge and information is the key to correct pest management decisions. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system that emphasizes appropriate decision-making, depends heavily on intensive, accurate and timely information for field investments are made in basic science in order to sustain the flow of knowledge and innovations essential to keep the technology development process responsive to the ever-changing needs of agriculture. The Component 4 aims at making such investments in those frontier science areas of agricultural research that are strategically important for Indian agriculture.
Insect pests are a major determinant in reducing the agricultural production and productivity particularly in a tropical country like India. Besides the direct attack on plants resulting in damage, insect are the most potent means of virus transmission from plant to plant – especially by sap feeding insects like whitefly and aphids. Whitefly, Bemicia tabaci, is the vector exclusively transmitting the Gemini viruses of plants and has become the most invasive species in the world. The Indian sub-continent is considered to be the origin of whiteflies and more than 290 species in 57 different genera have been described from India. Of these different whitefly species, Bemicia tabaci is the most important and it has now spread all over the world in the last 50 years and has more than 7 biotypes within it. Since each biotype is important as they differ in fecundity, host range and insecticide resistance spectrum (the newly emerged Q biotype of B. tabaci is resistant to the latest neo-nicotinoid insecticides) identifying the biotypes by biochemical and molecular means as well as knowing their respective distribution pattern become paramount for effecting any integrated pest management strategy. Further, facultative endosymbionts confer high functional advantage to the whitefly including parasitoid resistance and thermal tolerance.
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