Infuse new technologies for sustaining the productivity- Dr. Mangala Rai

February 5, 2009 New Delhi

Fourth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture is being organized jointly by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences during February 4-7, 2009.More than 800 delegates representing research institutions,policy planners, corporate organizations,farmers organizations,non- government organizations and other stake holders from India and various parts of the world are participating.

The Congress was inaugurated yesterday by Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Consumers Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in presence of dignitaries which include Prof. M.S.Swaminathan, Member Rajya Sabha and renowned agriculture scientist, Dr. Mangala Rai, Chairman of the Internation Steering Committee and Director General, ICAR and Heads of International/UN organizations associated with agriculture.

While speaking at the Plenary Session, Dr. Mangala Rai elaborated the role of Conservation Agriculture in improving efficiency, equity and environment in Indian perspective. He emphasized, when resources and inputs are used inefficiently both cost of cultivation and threat for biosphere pollution increases and production decreases. Available estimates indicate that by 10% increase in water use efficiency, country can gain more than 50 million tones of foodgrains from the existing irrigated area. Dr. Rai noted that it is high time to infuse new technologies for further enhancing and sustaining the productivity as well as to tap new sources of growth in agricultural productivity.

Highlighting the role of resource Conservation Technologies, Dr Rai suggested that an ideal farming approach should aim at increasing the agricultural production, conservation of soils, improving the productivity of water, ensuring livelihood, generating employment and above all for ensuring much needed Sujalam (clean water) Suphalam (clean food) Malayaja Sheetlam (fresh air).

Dr. Katherine Sierra, Vice President, The World Bank, while speaking in the Plenary Session emphasised that Conservation Agriculture is an important and prime tool for improving equity and environment. She apprised the audience regarding various schemes and programmes of the World Bank for encouraging research and development in Conservation Agriculture. Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin , Director General , CIMMYT-Mexico regarded Conservation Agriculture the means of enhancing resource productivity and efficiency. He noted, Conservation Agriculture must be brought into the mainstream of crop management research and be closely linked with crop breeders and other agricultural disciplines. Conservation Agriculture must not continue to be sidelined as an alternative development pathway, as it represents our best option for a sustainable future.

Dr. R.K.Malik, CCS Haryana Agriculture University , Hissar in association with Dr. R.K. Gupta from CIMMYT-India presented various issues of Conservation Agriculture and its dynamics, alongwith the history of conservation agriculture. Dr. Malik cited various case studies from India regarding the development of alternate tillage and crop establishment strategies for higher resource use efficiencies in the rice-wheat system. Whereas, Green Revolution provided for national food security, conservation agriculture/Resource Conservation Technologies is an important component of the strategy for food security and poverty alleviation, health for all, rural development, enhancing productivity, improve environmental quality and preserve national resource.

Technical Sessions on various issues, Soil and residue management, Input management, Genetic strategies, Participatory approaches and partnerships, Integrated approach for technology development & dissemination, Capacity building, Enabling policies, and Biodiversity, associated with Conservation Agriculture were held.

An Agro-Tech exhibition is also arranged at the venue exhibiting various technologies, equipments etc. associated with the Conservation Agriculture. ICAR and other International Organizations,public and private, are participating in the exhibition.