Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh has said that the Agricultural Science Congress marks the confluence of researchers, intellectuals, creativity and the custodians of global food security. In his inaugural address of the 14th Agricultural Science Congress today he said that it is nothing short of an Agri-Research Kumbh. He stated the churning of science, technology and knowledge outcomes during this Congress will be of immense value to the welfare of farmers as well as humanity. He added that the government recently announced a new scheme PM-KISAN for assured income support to the farmers. The scheme is being implemented with effect from December 2018. A direct income support of Rs 6,000 per annum to the farmers will be provided. Around 12 crore farming families will be directly benefitted from this scheme.
Shri Singh appreciated the role of ICAR in launching a mega project called NICRA to address the issues of climate change through the KVKs, adding that the “Soil Health Card Scheme” has been launched to improve crop productivity through judicious use of inputs without deteriorating soil health further. Shri Singh further said that the IARI has developed ‘Pusa Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendation Meter’ for facilitating the reach of soil testing at the farmers’ doorstep. During the last 4 and a half years, 1014 varieties of different crops were developed among which more than 800 varieties are tolerant/resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses.
He expressed pride in the IARI celebrating 50 years of remote sensing in India. The first national initiative on application of remote sensing technology was attempted way back in 1969 by IARI along with ISRO and NASA for the early diagnosis of root (wilt) disease in coconut at Kayamkulam, Kerala.
The Minister said that value-addition to agricultural production is one of the solutions for improving farmers’ income. The implementation of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sampada Yojana will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management. It will not only provide a big boost to the growth of food processing sector in the country but also help in providing better prices to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers’ income. He further said that the agri-based start-ups and entrepreneurship development need to be promoted and the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) including Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) is government’s endeavour to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.Innovations will play a critical role in developing solutions and pathways for addressing the agrarian challenges.