Presidential address of Dr. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Presidential address of Dr. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on the occasion of Fourth National Conference on Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore on November 6, 2009

My esteemed Friend, Thiru Sharad Pawar ji, Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture; Thiru Veerapandi Arumugam, Tamil Nadu Minister for Agriculture; Other State Ministers who are present here; Thiru.T. Nandakumar, Secretary, Agriculture, Government of India; Dr. Mangala Rai, Dr. Kiran D. Kokate, Dr. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice-Chancellor, and Scientists, students, staff, and friends; I am immensely happy to preside over the inaugural function of the 4th National Conference on Krishi Vigyan Kendras. This is conducted for 3 days by Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. In this Conference, Scientists of 569 Krishi Vigyan Kendras located all over India are taking part. Indeed I am very happy that Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Thiru. Sharad Pawar ji has inaugurated the Agricultural Technology Exhibition and the Conference.

Though my health condition does not permit me long journies, I have come here from Chennai, mainly because of the kind and affectionate invitation extended to me personally by Thiru Sharad Pawar ji. I value very highly my long association with Pawar ji. I extend a very warm welcome to him on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu. He has come here in recognition of his affection for the Tamils, though his presence is quite essential at Mumbai at this juncture. I am sure, this gathering is quite aware of his contribution to the development of Agriculture in our country. He has always been extending a helping-hand to Tamil Nadu, whenever required for which I have been grateful to him.

At the outset, I would like to record that Tamil Nadu is surging ahead steadily and strongly to become the most socially and economically progressive State in the country. The State, an agrarian economy at the dawn of independence is now a modern economy that is propelled by the secondary and tertiary sectors.

In this memorable conference of National significance, I would like to proudly say that our great saint and poet Thiruvalluvar has recorded a number of thoughts on Agriculture. Thiruvalluvar brings into limelight the significant aspects of farm management at one stroke, which clearly shows the prominence of Agriculture in human civilization even 2000 years before. To be precise, his words still leads the Agriculture.

I am very happy for this opportunity of hosting the 4th National Conference of Krishi Vigyan Kendras in Tamil Nadu. I firmly believe that Tamil Nadu is the right place to conduct the conference, since Tamil Nadu is one of the pioneer States in the development of Agriculture. I would like to add that if Tamil Nadu is one of the shining examples of agricultural growth, it is more due to the dedicated and untiring efforts of the farmers. Their success in agriculture shall be rightly attributed to the Government policies in making this State lead in all fronts. The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University is exemplary in three mandates namely, Teaching, Research and Extension. In this event of National importance, I wish to place on record my appreciation to each one of the scientists, staff and the students of this University, who have been associated with it for the past four decades.

On an invitation from Thiru Gurnam Singh, the then Chief Minister of Punjab and my good old friend, I had an opportunity to visit the Punjab Agricultural University for inaugurating a huge Building in November, 1969. That was the main cause which made me to start this Agricultural University in Coimbatore. The main objectives of Krishi Vigyan Kendras are to increase the agricultural production, to improve the quality of the produce, to get better price and remuneration, so as to improve the socio economic status of the farming community. To achieve these objectives, they impart knowledge to the farmers, by way of conducting field-level demonstrations, On-Farm Trials, Exhibitions, Kissan Melas, Training on ICT, Exposure visits, etc

As you are aware, the survival and well-being of a Nation depends much on the sustainable development of its natural resources. The available resources and lands shall be suitably managed to meet the social, economical and cultural needs of present and future generation. This is where the scientist community plays an important role in transforming the Government’s policy into reality. The continuous growth of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras is dedicated to the transfer of newly-developed technologies to the rural masses.

I request the scientists to explore all the avenues to develop agriculture, since they are directly in contact with the “son of the soils”, who till and toil”. The Scientists should serve as a “ladder” to them to scale better heights in their economic and social status. In 1967, when Perarignar Anna was the Chief Minister, open and bore wells were constructed in Cauvery delta and in other districts to increase the irrigation intensity and Land Cess was annulled for rain-fed crops so as to encourage the farmers to increase the food grain productivity.

When I became the Chief Minister, after the demise of our leader Perarignar Anna in 1969, I realized the importance of technologies for increased agricultural production and hence I upgraded the Coimbatore Agricultural College to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in 1971. Due to this, intense research activities were carried out in this University to increase the cropping density. Intensive Agricultural Development Programme was implemented to improve the food-grain production. All these efforts resulted in increasing total food grain production from 54 lakh tonnes in 1967 to 72 lakh tonnes in 1976. The food grain production in 2008-09 has risen to 91 lakh tonnes. The Rice productivity has increased from 1450 kilo per Hectare to 3450 Kilo. All these were possible only due to the efforts taken to transfer the technologies.

There were opposition for introduction of machineries in agriculture in the place of human-beings some 15 years back. But now, once the farmers started using machineries in the field of agriculture, there is demand for further introduction of machineries for improving the agricultural production. Due to industrialisation and urbanization, the cultivable area is slowly shrinking and hence new agricultural technologies are being advocated to the farmers to increase the agricultural productivity. Although we have attained a good position in the total production of food grains especially in rice and millets, we still have to improve our productivity in case of pulses and oil-seeds. To achieve productivity, farmers should be trained and encouraged by the Scientists of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras to adopt latest technologies. Apart from the above, Tamil Nadu is implementing Drip irrigation scheme, Precision Farming, Agricultural Mechanisation for the benefit of farming community.

This Government is providing 50 per cent of the Insurance Premium as Subsidy to the farmers from the year 2006-2007, after the D.M.K. assumed office, to protect them from crop loss on account of natural calamities. A sum of Rs. 652 crores has been sanctioned to the affected farmers numbering more than five lakhs.

Before concluding my speech, I would like to highlight the performance of our country in Agriculture at Global level. Our country has stood second in production of Sugarcane, Second in Rice and Wheat Production, first in pulses production, third in Oilseeds and second in vegetables and fruit production. Although the performance is exemplary, we still have to achieve a lot in Agriculture. Hence, I request the scientists to utilize this opportunity and re-do their objectives and re-dedicate themselves to empower the farming community.

On behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu, I am glad to welcome the Agricultural Scientists and others who have gathered here. I wish this Conference a grand success.

Thank you