Future food and nutritional challenges greater than earlier - Prime Minister

20 February 2012
IARI, New Delhi,

IARI Convocation 1 L-R - Dr H S Gupta, Director, IARI, Dr Charan Das Mahant, MoS, Sharad Pawar, Manmohan Singh, Shri HArish Rawat, Dr M S SwaminathanThe Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh has said that country must increase its research funding to at least 2 per cent of GDP if future challenges are to be met. He also said that a large portion of this fund has to be spent on agriculture as future challenges require it to be so.

“The National Agriculture Research System needs to be strengthened to meet the challenges of the years ahead. One requirement of this is financial resources. Our Government is committed to raising R&D spending on the whole to at least 2% of the GDP by the end of XII Plan from the current level of about 1%. Given the importance that agricultural has in achieving our national goals, we have to ensure that a significant proportion of increased R&D spending is directed to this sector.”

Speaking at the Golden Jubilee Convocation ceremony of Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), Pusa New Delhi, Dr Singh said that his government has been pursuing a policy to revitalize the farm sector and these policy incentives have resulted in turning the balance of trade in favor of agriculture.

He, however, pointed to the inadequacies in farm extension system saying the at least research and farm practices are not reaching the farmers with the speed or efficiency that is required.

PM said that Indian institutions are large repository of knowledge and research which could be of interest to private sector and that private sector must be involved as partners in agricultural research and innovations.

Shri Sharad Pawar presents Doctorate of Science award to PM Dr Manmohan Singh  Dr Manmohan Singh was awarded Doctorate of Science by IARI which was presented to him by Union Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Shri Sharad Pawar. Mr Pawar was guest of honour at the ceremony.

The Prime Minister has also pointed out that our farm economy needs greater injection of science and a knowledge-based approach to increasing incomes and productivity. “Both land and water productivity is limited and it is vital that we make progress in agricultural technology which raises land productivity while allowing a significant reduction in water use per unit of output. We need to develop varieties which can ensure high yield while economizing on water and are also capable of withstanding water stress.”

Acknowledging the contribution and involvement of women in farm sector, Dr Singh said that special efforts have to make the entire R&D chain more gender sensitive and give priority to technological options that reduce drudgery of women working in the farm.

Dr Singh congratulated Ph.D and M. Sc awardees students and wished them all luck in their future endevour. Dr Singh also congratulated IARI for setting up new ‘Centre for Environmental Science and Climate Resilient Agriculture.”

Dr R S Paroda, Chairman, Haryana Farmers Commission, receiving the first Dr A B Joshi award institued by IARI, Pusa New Delhi. PM also presented the first Dr A B Joshi award instituted by IARI, Pusa New Delhi to Dr R S Paroda, Chairman, Haryana Farmers Commission on the occasion.

Shri Harish Rawat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing Industries and Parliamentary Affairs; Dr Charan Das Mahant, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing Industries, Dr M.S. Swaminathan, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR, Deputy Director Generals of ICAR, Directors of ICAR institutes and senior officials were present on the occasion of Golden Jubilee of Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

Earlier, welcoming guests to the ceremony, IARI Director Dr H S Gupta said that the institute has taken several steps to increase the food grain production and to expand food basket, while simultaneously promoting conservation agriculture. He appealed to the PM to increase investments in agriculture R&D so that our infrastructure is able to compete globally. Dr Gupta also pointed out that the Institute was committed to increasing the food security the food security of the country as it had done by planting the seed of the First Green Revolution.