Development of new early and high yielding provitamin A-rich hybrid for Northern Hill region

Vitamin A is essential for vision, immunity and various metabolic activities in the body. Vitamin A deficiency is responsible for causing night blindness and loss of vision. Provitamin A-rich maize (carrying crtRB1 gene) contains 3-4 times provitamin As compared to normal yellow maize and is, therefore, seen as a sustainable approach to mitigate provitamin A malnutrition. A provitamin A-rich variety VL VitA (FPVH 1) has been developed at ICAR-VPKAS Almora using a combination of Marker-assisted Backcross Breeding (MABB) and Hybrid Breeding. The details of VL VitA (FPVH 1)  are as follows:

VL VitA (FPVH 1): This hybrid has been developed by combining VBL 101 and VBL 102, which are MAS-derived Provitamin A versions of normal corn lines V 400 and V 412. It is an early maturing (95-100 days) hybrid with a provitamin A content of 7.48 (mg/g). Its average yield in the All India coordinated trials in the North hill zone was 7,167 kg/ha and it exhibited yield superiority of 39.8% over the check APQH 9 (5,125 kg/ha). It exhibited moderate resistance against turcicum leaf blight. VL VitA has been been identified for release in Northern Hill Zone (Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura) at the 66th Annual Maize Workshop of ICAR-AICRP on Maize held during 12-14 April, 2023 at GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar (Uttarakhand). This new provitamin A-rich hybrid will add to varietal diversity of biofortified varieties in the country as a whole and Northern Hill Zone in particular and, thereby, will offer a wider choice to the farmers. Further, its high yielding parents will ensure availability of seed of this hybrid to the farmers at a reasonable price and help in its wider adoption in the hill regions of the country.