10th February, 2014, New Delhi
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Hon’ble President of India inaugurated World Congress on Agro-forestry (WCA-2014) and presented Krishi Karman Awards (2012-13) in a glittering ceremony held at Vigyan Bhavan here today.
While delivering inaugural address, he traced the importance and role of trees in Indian society since ancient times and coming to modern context he said that agro-forestry offers a significant opening in resetting our priorities on farm sustainability. It is emerging as a major domain in environmentally sustainable food production systems. Agro-forestry system produces food, fuel and fibre; contributes to food and nutritional security; sustains livelihoods; helps in preventing deforestation; increases biodiversity; protects water resources, and reduces erosion.
Carbon sequestration of agro-forestry farms is low-hanging fruit for climate change mitigation, justifying greater investment in them. Agro-forestry is also an important alternative to meet the target of increasing the vegetation cover to 33 per cent from the present level of below 25 per cent, he added. President highlighted the research work being conducted by ICAR on agro-forestry through its All India Coordinated Research Project on Agro-forestry and National Research Centre for Agro-forestry.
Shri Mukherjee said that agro-forestry, as a promising sector, can no longer remain constricted to our tunnel vision. I am happy at the efforts being made to elevate agro-forestry to a wider framework in our policy discourse. I am told that a draft National Agro-forestry Policy has been prepared, which I hope will be finalized soon. A National Mission on Agro-forestry has also been planned that will better coordination, seek convergence and derive synergy between various players operating in the sector.
Hon’ble President of India conferred awards to winners of Essay Writing and Painting Competition for children organized on the theme of WCA-2014.
Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, in his address said that Agro-forestry has been a way of life in India for centuries and it has the potential to address issues such as employment generation, livelihood, resource conservation and optimization of farm productivity. We probably need a global ‘agro-forestry transformation’ to mobilize resources to remove the constraints that impede its wide spread application. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research and World Agro-forestry Centre, Nairobi along with other partners are poised to foster such an agro-forestry transformation, which will promote an “evergreen revolution” in the agriculture and natural resource management arena, especially in the developing countries.
Shri Pawar released special issue of ‘Indian Farming’ (ICAR) and the ‘Indian Journal of Agro-forestry’ and presented first copies to the Hon’ble President of India.
Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Union Minister of Environment and Forests highlighted the important role of trees in the Indian sub-continent since centuries by providing food, fuel, fibre, fruit and timber. He said that Indian farmers are growing trees on farm lands as a dynamic system of agricultural sustainability for enhancing profitability and productivity. He hoped that the forthcoming National Agro-forestry Policy will pave way for new era of agro-forestry in the country.
Dr. Anthony J. Simons, Director General, World Agro-forestry Centre elaborated upon the theme of WCA, Trees for Life-Accelerating the Impact of Agro-forestry. He said that organization of WCA in this part of world is important as it feeds more population than other parts but has less number of trees in comparison. Dr. Simons said that agro-forestry strives for green society rather than green economy.
Earlier, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and DG, ICAR welcomed the dignitaries and delegates and hoped that this conference will deliberate on road map of agro-forestry in the next couple of decades. He said that the Congress will achieve its goal to accelerate the financial, environmental and social impacts of agro-forestry on development.
Shri Ashish Bahuguna, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India introduced Krishi Karman Awards that were instituted in 2010-11 for recognizing the meritorious efforts of the states in food-grains production. Agriculture Minister’s Krishi Karman Awards for progressive farmers was instituted during 2011-12. Hon’ble President of India conferred Krishi Karman Awards to representatives of the states and progressive farmers for the year 2012-13.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi; World Agro-forestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya; and Indian Society of Agro-forestry (ISAF), Jhansi are jointly organizing WCA-2014 on 10-14 February at New Delhi. The theme of the Congress is ‘Trees for Life’. This is the third in the series, after the first two congresses were held in Orlando (USA, 2004) and Nairobi (Kenya, 2009).
Around 1200 participants, about 500 foreign participants from more than 80 countries, including researchers, policymakers, and major businesses with concerns for sustainable development, NGOs, farmers and youth groups from around the world are participating in the Congress.
Dr. Alok Kumar Sikka, Deputy Director General (NRM), ICAR proposed the vote of thanks.
(Source: NAIP Mass Media Project, DKMA)