While delivering the 54th Convocation Address of ICAR- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, the President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the students who were being awarded degrees. He also complimented the members of the faculty for shaping the minds and skills of these students.
“The IARI, set up in 1905, has played a key role in providing human resource to the national agricultural research system. Over eight thousand students of IARI have been awarded post-graduate or PhD degrees so far. Several alumni of IARI have held key positions driving agricultural research and education in important institutions in India and abroad,” mentioned the President.
“India has only 3 percent of the world’s land resources and 5 percent of water resources. Yet, Indian agriculture system supports 18 percent of the world population. The transformation from a state of “ship-to-mouth” to a leading exporter of food grains has been made possible largely due to the scientific developments in premier institutes like IARI. This Institute has made significant contributions in ushering the green revolution and building a vibrant agriculture sector in our country. I applaud IARI for its dedicated service to the nation,” said the President.
Bioscience technologies have to play a key role in increasing output
Mr Pranab Mukherjee mentioned that the time is ripe for some serious efforts as eighty percent of the area under cultivation in India is in the grip of severe climatic conditions like drought, floods and cyclones. “Global climate change could aggravate these problems. Institutes like IARI must leverage opportunities from frontier sciences such as bio-technology, synthetic biology, nano-technology, computational biology, sensor technology and geo-spatial technology to develop climate-resilient technology solutions. Innovation in agricultural techniques and practices must be supported through infusion of funds, mentoring of ideas, and technical assistance. The risk-taking ability of farmers must be boosted. The newly-launched crop insurance scheme will leverage technology to provide risk cover to the farmers,” he mentioned.
Mr Mukherjee also called upon farmers and agri-preneurs to make full use of global opportunity. “Increase in investment for agriculture technology development, rural agri-infrastructure, on-farm processing and value addition, and storage facilities are needed. Agriculturists must be trained to transform their farms into production-cum-processing centres. Research in our institutes must address the critical issues that hinder the development of rural agri-businesses. Proliferation of the recently-launched “Start-up India” to the rural sector could provide fillip to the setting up of agro-based enterprises. The “Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav” programme of IARI, under which each scientist will adopt a village, should aim at changing agriculture from subsistence farming to commercial farm industry,” opined Mr President.