New Delhi, 17 Feb 2012
‘Globally, there is an increased interest in agricultural research and development because of the food concerns around the globe and escalating food prices’, said Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries. While inaugurating two-day Conference of ICAR Directors and Vice Chancellors of Agricultural Universities, he further added, in India, we have been constantly upgrading our resources to meet these challenges.
Shri Sharad Pawar congratulated Dr. K.L. Chaddha and Dr. V.P. Singh for having been conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award this year. It is a matter of great pride and honour for ICAR and I would like all of you to join me in giving a big round of applause for them, he said.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Pawar said that over 75% of the farmers are small or marginal land holders who depend on farming for livelihood. He also said, dry land agriculture which accounts for about 65% of total agriculture production including livestock is another major challenge at times when we are facing increasingly adverse effects of climate change.
Apart from financial support of Department of Agricultural Research and Education to the agricultural universities which has been increasing over periods, there is a need to enhance investment on agricultural research, education and extension by the respective State Governments, said Shri Pawar.
Union Minister emphasised that ICAR is devising innovative called ‘Farmers First and Students Ready’ programmes to improve the technology delivery and agricultural education with enhanced emphasis, he hoped, it would greatly improve the entrepreneurial skills of the agricultural graduates.
The Union Minister stated that life cycle approach in research and development involving input-delivery, knowledge exchange, capacity building, post harvest management and market linkage is an option for empowering the small holders with adequate income and livelihood security. In fact the Global forum for Agricultural Research Roadmap has proposed an inclusive, rolling process of reform and capacity development that aims to mobilize the full power of agricultural knowledge and innovation, towards meeting agriculture and food-related development needs, he said.
He appreciated the efforts of scientists who have decoded the pigeon pea genome, that would provide for development of tolerant and resistance varieties. Starch based films with nano cellulose from cotton waste, linseed bio-village concept, buffalo genomics and breeding of the marine fish, Silver Pompano are some of the other accomplishments, said Shri Pawar.
Dr Charan Das Mahant, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing Industries conferred the Performance Prizes to four Agricultural Universities. The first prize conferred on Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur. Second prize was won by Central Agricultural University, Imphal. GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar and Dr Panjab Rao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola is joint winners of third prize.
Earlier, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR highlighted the major achievements of the Council in agricultural research, education and extension during the year. Dr. Ayyappan briefed various initiatives taken by the Council. Enhanced production coupled with productivity spurts has led the country to witness a record production of food grains during the year, he said.
Best Annual Report Awards were conferred upon Central Institute of Fresh Water Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar and National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy, New Delhi, for best annual reports under large and small institute category, respectively.
Earlier, the ground breaking ceremony of new auditorium at NASC was also held. Six publications in print and electronic form, documentary film and electronic manual were also released on the occasion.
Sri Rajiv Mehrishi, Additional Secretary, DARE & Secretary, ICAR proposed vote of thanks. Vice-Chancellors of Agricultural Universities, Directors of ICAR institutes, Deputy Director Generals of ICAR, Zonal Project Directors, Project Coordinators and senior officials of the Council are participating in the Conference.
(Source-NAIP Sub-Project on Mass Media Mobilization, DKMA)