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NAAS President Calls for Major Overhaul of India's Agricultural Research and Education

Updated: Jun 06, 2024 05:08:28pm

NAAS President Calls for Major Overhaul of India's Agricultural Research and Education

New Delhi, Jun 6 (KNN) As the newly-formed government lays out its 100-day agenda, Himanshu Pathak, President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), has underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive overhaul of India's agricultural research and education system.

His call comes amidst mounting challenges facing the sector, including high cultivation costs, low productivity, and the severe impacts of climate change.

"As we move forward, there is a need to address these challenges through a transformation in the way agricultural research and education are conducted in the country," Pathak stated during the NAAS Foundation Day Programme.

He emphasised that the vision for Indian agriculture should be to achieve globally competitive and sustainable farming practices.

Pathak, who also serves as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), highlighted the substantial returns on investments in agricultural research, stating that every one rupee invested yields a return of Rs 13. The returns are even higher in the livestock sector.

However, the farm sector faces several impediments, including limited diversification, low value addition, soil degradation, natural resource depletion, increasing pest and disease issues, volatile markets, and the intensifying effects of climate change.

Consequently, agriculture's share in the GDP has dwindled to 19.2 percent, with fewer people depending on the sector.

To address these challenges, Pathak advocated for research in high-impact areas, diversification of agriculture, a focus on climate-resilient varieties, low carbon, nitrogen, and energy footprints to combat climate change, and the integration of alternative technologies.

He also emphasised the need to promote value addition and address post-harvest losses.

Pathak suggested leveraging new tools such as ICT, AI, GIS, and genome editing to achieve these goals.

He further recommended increasing demand for quality and nature-friendly food with rising incomes, facilitating cooperation across partners, increasing funding, and improving the quality of manpower.

The government has already set a 2047 target for the agricultural sector and prepared action points, reflecting its commitment to transforming the sector, Pathak noted.

(KNN Bureau)


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