PM pitches to promote startups to ensure innovation in the agriculture sector
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reviewed the progress of agriculture research, extension and education in India, and pitched for promoting startups and agri-entrepreneurs to ensure innovation, and using of technology in farming and allied sectors.
He underlined the need for developing forward and backward linkages to assure better returns to farmers, an official statement said.
Taking to Twitter later, the prime minister said, "India is placing great importance to education in the agricultural sector that benefits the farmers."
India is proud of its traditional agricultural knowledge and will complement it with the latest technology to ensure a boost to the income of farmers, he said.
At the review, Modi highlighted the need to adopt organic and natural farming practices on a cluster based approach.
The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed geo-referenced Organic Carbon Map of India, identified 88 bio-control agents and 22 bio-pesticides which can promote organic agriculture, the statement said.
The prime minister also directed that startups and agri-entrepreneurs need to be promoted to ensure innovation and use of technology in agriculture and allied sectors. He highlighted the need to leverage information technology to provide information on demand to the farmers.
He suggested that hackathons may be organised twice a year to solve identified problems and meet design needs for tools and equipment that can reduce drudgery if farming activity, given that a large number of farm workers are women.
He exhorted the need to create awareness regarding inclusion of millets like jowar, bajra, ragi and several other minor millets in diet to ensure a healthy diet.
In order to enhance water use efficiency, the prime minister desired that awareness and outreach programmes be conducted.
While reviewing the contributions of ICAR in developing new breeds of cattle, sheep, and goats, the prime minister highlighted the need for research on indigenous breeds of dogs and horses. He directed that a focused approach be adopted for vaccination drives for foot and mouth diseases.
In the virtual meet, he exhorted that study of grasses and local fodder crops should be undertaken to understand their nutritive value.
He underlined the need to study use of sea weeds for their impact on soil health apart from exploring commercial applications in nutraceuticals.
Modi directed that ease of access to farm equipment and transport facility from field to markets should be ensured. In this regard, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperatives and Farmers Welfare launched an app Kisanrath.
He said there was a need to orient agricultural education and research systems based on agro-climatic requirements to meet the demands of the farmers.
The systems are to be geared towards enhancing farmer's incomes while meeting international standards.
The prime minister exhorted that traditional knowledge of Indian communities should be coupled with technology and skill sets of youth and agriculture graduates to translate the full potential of Indian agriculture in transforming rural areas.
Trilochan Mohaptra, Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research cum-Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Extension presented the priorities, performance, and preparedness to face various challenges. Since 2014, based on the research at various centres of ICAR, 1,434 varieties of field crops, 462 horticulture crops, and 1,121 climate resilient varieties have been developed.
Molecular breeding techniques have been used to develop varieties which are tolerant to multiple stress.