Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries has stressed on consolidation of research programmes, development of a long-term human resources plan and Public-Private partnership to ascertain inclusive growth in agriculture.
Inaugurating the Annual Conference of Vice Chancellors of Agricultural Universities and ICAR Directors, Shri Pawar said that ICAR Institutes and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) must reinforce the interface mechanism to improve synergy to minimize duplication efforts and lead to judicious use of the resources.
The Minister said, “Globally, there is an increased interest in agricultural research and development because of the food concerns around the globe and escalating food prices. In India, we have been constantly upgrading our resources to meet these challenges. However, how successful we have been in overcoming them is still a moot point. I am an agriculturist over the last five decades and the Agriculture Minister in Government of India over the last seven years, but I am constrained to say, that but for the successful roll out of the green revolution in the 60s I am yet to see technological breakthroughs which have broken the productivity barrier faced by most of our crops. With such illustrious minds at work and despite huge financial outlays the answers still eludes the nation. While we have been fortunate that our production levels have risen over the last few years, I fear that this growth story will soon peter away unless the ICAR system stands up to count among the solution providers for the farming community.”
Shri Pawar called for a demand driven approach to research and development of synergies both between the researchers and between the researcher and the end user. He asked the Vice Chancellors who are training the future researchers to see that this aspect of agriculture research is internalized in our students. Shri Pawar said, “Both the universities and their colleges should engage in strategic planning to determine how they can best recruit, retain, and prepare the agriculture graduate of today and tomorrow. Conversations should involve a broad array of stakeholders with an interest in undergraduate agriculture education. This could include faculty in and outside agriculture colleges, current and former students, employers, disciplinary societies, commodity Boards, local organizations focused on food and agriculture, and representatives of the public. Institutions should develop and implement a strategic plan within a year and to revisit that plan every five years thereafter.”
The Minister said, “In the knowledge era, knowledge architecture is becoming increasingly important and it is necessary for us to strengthen the knowledge portals created for rice and buffalo and to create more such portals. I am given to understand that the knowledge-Innovation Repository in Agriculture for North-East (Kiran) has been launched for enhancing agricultural production in NE Region. This is a very welcome step. Similarly, the Livestock Feed Portal I am sure will serve as a single window reference on sequential information on livestock feeds and feeding. All these efforts augur well for Indian agriculture and over time these knowledge based initiatives have the potential of becoming the focal point of agriculture development and growth.”
On the periodic increase of financial support from Department of Agricultural Research and Education to agricultural universities, Shri Pawar urged the State Governments to enhance investment on agricultural research, education and extension. The Minister pointed out that ICAR is devising innovative called “Farmers First and Students Ready” programmes to improve the technology delivery and agricultural education with enhanced emphasis. This would greatly improve the entrepreneurial skills of the agricultural graduates, the Minister added.
Dr. K. L. Chaddha and Dr. V.P. Singh, renowned agricultural scientists, who received the Padam Shri Award this year, were felicitated on the occasion. Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr. Charan Das Mahant was also present.