Need to take research to doorsteps of farmers: Agriculture Minister

ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar and his team briefed the Minister on various research programmes at the institute.

June 25, 2014 12:15 IST | India Infoline News Service
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has exhorted ICRISAT, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics, to work for taking technology to the doorstep of farmers. Taking technologies that are ready to the doorstep of every smallholder farmer in the country is a priority for the Union Government. With support from ICRISAT and other agricultural institutions, we will reach out to more farmers in rural India, he said on his visit to the institute earlier this week. 

The Minister added, We must improve the health of soil to the benefit of smallholder farmers. I urge ICRISAT to upscale plans to extend soil health cards to every farmer in the country. Recognizing the importance of pulses in enhancing food security and incomes of smallholder farmers, the minister discussed with ICRISAT, the Union Governments priority of upscaling cultivation of pulses and making it more competitive and attractive to farmers. He pledged additional support to the efforts of ICRISAT to enable a Pulses Revolution in India. 

ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar and his team briefed the Minister on various research programmes at the institute. While visiting the ICRISAT Centre of Excellence in Genomics, the Director General shared with the Minister the idea of an India Genome Centre for Agriculture which has the potential to transform India into a global leader in genomics. The initiative focuses on areas critical to food security and aims to coordinate the work of all the genomics institutes across the country. 

Enhanced support to value chains of nutri-cereals like millets which have been traditional crops in most areas across the country is essential. With high nutritional composition and resilience to survive in dry areas, nutri-cereals will be critical to Indias future helping overcome malnutrition and to cope with climate change. ICRISAT has been working closely with several organizations in the country on millets. 

The Minister also visited the Centre of Excellence for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Agriculture and the RS Paroda Gene Bank, and interacted with scientists.

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