Be Proactive For Meeting Emerging Challenges: Sharad Pawar
23 December 2009, New Delhi
The 81st Annual General Meeting of the ICAR Society was held here at the NASC Complex on 23 December 2009. Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Sharad Pawar chaired the event. Addressing the Meeting, he said that 2009 was a year of challenges for the Indian agriculture, while referring to the delayed and deficient monsoon hitting the country and flash floods in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Shri Sharad Pawar lauded the way ICAR responded to the challenges and its efforts in designing technology-driven contingency crop plans which contributed greatly to protect the standing crops and to mitigate the drought effects. While remembering the late pioneer of green revolution Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, he observed that the same, zeal and commitment among scientists will help meet the emerging challenges through collaborative research and inter-institutional support mechanisms. Shri Pawar informed that 55 patent applications from 13 ICAR Institutes were filed during the year and that five State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) were given accreditation during the year and so taking the total number of SAUs to 33. He also highlighted the capacity building efforts of ICAR in higher agricultural education and high-end research. About 40,000 training programmes for enhancing farmers’ capacity and skills were organized where 11.27 lakh farmers and farm women were benefitted.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Prof K. V. Thomas, while speaking on the occasion, highlighted the various core issues which need special attention in order to sustain the largest national population in the world in 2050. He said that the demand for protein foods is increasing exponentially and for that, we have to increase the production through sustainable agriculture by ushering input regime and higher yields from the static or decreasing catchments. He stressed for indigenizing and evolving crop specific strategies by using GM technologies, micro-irrigation, etc. Prof Thomas informed that ICAR has made appreciable efforts in crop genetics by developing 147 successful varieties of important crops for different agro-climatic regions of the country.
Dr Mangala Rai, Secretary, DARE and DG, ICAR said that new varieties of rice capable of withstanding drought (Sahbhagi Dhan) and water submergence (Swarna-Sub 1) for 14 days under water. ICAR also produced 7340 tonnes of breeder seeds and over 25 lakh planting materials during the year. Dr Rai informed that 51 models for different agricultural commodities were developed for promoting production-to-consumption chains for maximizing farmers’ profits. He emphasized that ICAR took lead in cloning buffalo for faster multiplication of highly productive animals and GARIMA is growing well. Various cutting-edge areas of research have been identified for international training programmes.
Dr. Mangala Rai said that enhancing income and employment, ensuring food and nutritional security, adapting to climate change, adjusting to changes in energy scenario, maintaining bio-safety and bio-security, sustainable use of natural resources and protecting bio-diversity are some the major challenges in agriculture.
Dr. Rai stressed the need for accelerating output growth, investments in agricultural R&D and agriculture infrastructure, demand-driven diversification of agriculture and more production from the shrinking resource base and stressed environment. He also expressed his concern over the projected impacts of climate change on agriculture as a serious threat to food security and suggested some ways for its mitigation. He said that to combat these future challenges, we need to focus on human resource development, while paying attention to processing, product development and value addition, and to production and availability of seeds, semen, saplings and fingerlings. Efficiency in the use of input, energy and water needs to be enhanced. Effective ways for converting so-called waste into wealth are to be identified and exploited on a larger scale.
Dr. Rai said that in an effort to keep pace with the growing challenges and the emerging scenarios, ICAR has come with some new establishments such as National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management, National Bureau of Agriculturally important Insects, DNA Gene Bank and Directorate of Floriculture. National Institute of Biotic Stress Management and Indian Institute of Biotechnology are also approved to be established, he added.
On the occasion, sixth and revised edition of Handbook of Agriculture along with two other publications namely Technologies for Commercialization and Adoption and Housing and Space Management was also released by the dignitaries.
(Source: NAIP-Mass Media Project)