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History of Wheat Production in India
The production and productivity of Wheat crop were quite low, when India became independent in 1947. The production of Wheat was only 6.46 million tonnes and productivity was merely 663 kg per hectare during 1950-51, which was not sufficient to feed the Indian population. The Country used to import Wheat in large quantities for fulfilling the needs of our people from many countries like USA under PL-480. The reasons of low production and productivity of Wheat at that time was (a) the tall growing plant habit resulting in lodging, when grown under fertile soils, (b) the poor tillering and low sink capacity of the varieties used, (c) higher susceptibility to diseases, (d) the higher sensitivity to thermo & photo variations, etc., resulting in poor adaptability, and (e) longer crop duration resulting in a long exposure of plants to the climatic variations and insect pest / disease attacks.

The Government of India appointed a commission in 1961 to assess the feasibility of increasing the crop productivity under prevailing Indian ecological conditions. The Commission consisted of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Dr. N.E. Borlaug and many others and concluded that production level of Wheat could be increased, if suitable and superior germ-plasm / varieties were available in the country. The discovery of genes responsible for dwarfing and non-lodging habits in 'Norin' Wheat varieties of Japan opened the doors to evolve high yielding varieties of Wheat. The dwarf Wheats, besides having stiffer and shorter straw, were relatively photo-insensitive and were capable of giving high yields at high doses of fertilisers, irrigation and other inputs. The Harvest Index (i.e. grain : straw ratio) was also more favourable in terms of grain production.

After assessing the possibility of increasing the Wheat production in India, Wheat scientists introduced five dwarf Wheat varieties, viz, Lerma Rojo 64-A, Sonora 63, Sonora 64, Mayo 64 and S 227 along-with around 200 other breeding lines of dwarf Wheat through the courtesy of Rockefeller Foundation and Mexican Ministry of Agriculture in 1963. These varieties were extensively tested in all the Wheat growing states of the country and it was concluded that the varieties such as 'Lerma Rojo 64-A', 'Sonora 64' and 'PV 18' developed in Mexico and carrying the genes for dwarfism having a high potential for yield in our country too. These findings lead the Government of India to undertake massive import of 18,000 tonnes seeds of 'Lerma Rojo 64-A' and to the some extent of ' Sonora 64' in 1966 for planting nearly 4 lakh hectares area in the country. As a result of this, a major breakthrough in Wheat productivity and production started to be visualized. These dwarf varieties were high yielding and disease and lodging resistant. But some how the farmers and consumers were not very much satisfied with the deep red colour of grains of these varieties and were reluctant to accept them. Then this lead to selection of many promising lines such as S 227, S 308, S 307, etc. from the advance breeding material received from Mexico and these selected varieties/lines were found to have amber grain colour with a very high yield potential and good degree of lodging and disease resistance. With the identification / development of amber or white seeded genotypes like Kalyan Sona, Sonalika, Safed Lerma and Chhoti Lerma in 1967, the 'Wheat Revolution' in India got a real momentum. Out of these, Kalyan Sona and Sonalika varieties became very much popular among the farmers because of their high yield, rust resistance, amber grains and adaptability to different soil and climatic conditions of the country and occupied nearly 10 million hectare area in the country and made the 'Wheat Revolution' to happen.

Subsequently, a number of dwarf Wheat varieties like Sarbati Sonara, Pusa Lerma, Arjun, Pratap, Janak, Mukta, Shera, etc. were evolved and released for general cultivation in the country. For popularizing these varieties, the Government of India had started High Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP) in Wheat during 1966-67 with a humble coverage of 0.54 million hectares (4.2 %) of the total area of 12.8 million hectare. It has slowly and steadily gained the strength over next 10 years and the area under HYVs reached to 12.5 million hectare (62%) of area under Wheat. Thereafter, large number of high yielding, input responsive and disease resistance varieties of Wheat were released for various ecological and growing conditions of the country. The important Wheat varieties, which have become very popular include C-306, UP-262, HD-2009, WL-711, HP-1102, HUW-206, HUW-234, HD- 2189, HD-2204, HD-2285, VL-616, VL-421, HS--42, WH-147, WH-157, WH- 542, HD- 2329, UP-2003, UP-2338, LOK-1, RAJ-1555, RAJ- 3765, RAJ- 3077, UP- 2425, PBW-154, PBW- 343, PBW- 443, PBW- 373, HI- 8381, HI-8498, HD-2687, KRL-19, HUW- 468, GW-273, etc.

Several policy decisions and actions were taken by Government of India from time to time to increase production and productivity in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India launched and implemented various Centrally Sponsored/ Central Sector Schemes, namely, IADP (1960-61), IAAP (1964-65), High Yielding Varieties Programme (1966-67), Wheat Minikit Demonstration Programme (1974-75), SFPP-Wheat (1988-89) and ICDP-Wheat (1994-95). Prior declaration of Minimum Support Price, construction of large grain handling facilities to procure the surplus grain and several other market promotional steps, establishment of seed production chains, fertilizer factories and farm machinery units, increased public investments in irrigation and agricultural research by Govt. of India created an environment for an all round production increase of Wheat crop in the country.

As result of these steps taken by Govt. of India, the Wheat scenario in our country has completely changed. In the post Independence era, country used to import Wheat for our needs but due to bumper increase in the production and productivity of Wheat in the 'Green Revolution' period in late sixties, our country became self dependent in Wheat production. At present, country is producing much more excess Wheat than the requirement and Godowns are over-flooded with Wheat. Currently, India is second largest producer of Wheat in the world after China with about 12% share in total world Wheat production. Now, India is surplus and in a position to export Wheat in the International Market and can earn foreign exchange. India has exported about 30 lakh tonnes of Wheat worth Rs.1,490 crore during 2001-02.