Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Tariq Anwar said use of better technologies can help us achieve our primary goal of food security even if availability of land and water is constant. “We just need to use these resources more judiciously,” he emphasised. Anwar was speaking at the inauguration of World Agriculture Congress in Hyderabad on November 5.
The minister further said, “Contract farming and value addition of Indian food through food processing would play a major role in improving agricultural productivity as well as providing economic return for agricultural produce. Contract farming can provide hand holding regarding seed selection, seed treatment, soil testing, fertilizers, pest management and income support through procurement which a government programme cannot possibly provide”.
He also said Indian agriculture faces serious challenges like shrinking land, depleting water resources and inefficient water use, adverse impact of climate change, ineffective management of energy resources, shortage of farm labour, poor and inefficient market infrastructure, lack of access to appropriate technology, increasing cost and uncertainties of domestic and international markets and the biggest challenge which the country would be facing in the coming years will be how to ensure food security in face of growing population.
Underlining measures to tackle impact of climate change on Indian agriculture, Tariq Anwar said steps are being taken to mitigate the impact of climate change. Among various areas in which interventions are being planned include improved crop seeds, livestock and fish culture, water efficiency, pesticide management, nutrient management, agriculture insurance, market access and livelihood diversification. Anwar further informed that Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated a network project “National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture” (NICRA) aiming at enhancing resilience of agriculture through strategic research, technology demonstration and capacity building.
Stating that Biotechnology is expected to play a major role in improving productivity, the minister said, “What is needed is robust regulatory system, which has scientifically established mechanism for evaluation of genetically modified crops so that all the issues raised on this matter can be put to rest. On this issue he reiterated the request made by the President of India wherein he had exhorted the scientific community and Indian Council of Agricultural Research to contribute to the public discourse and provide clarity on this sensitive issue”.
Inauguration of the congress was attended by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Minister for Agriculture K Lakshmi Narayana and Chairman of the World Agricultural Forum Advisory Board, James Bolger. scientists and businessmen.