New Delhi: The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said agricultural research has a significant impact on solving the problem of food security, improving the income of farmers and agriculturists, and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources for subsistence. He said a session on ‘Research as a driving force behind sustainability’ at the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial meeting organized by Italy that research contributes significantly to the three aspects of food security-availability, access and affordability.
‘Agricultural research has played an important role in tackling the problem of food security, improving the income of farmers and agriculturists and sustainable use of natural resources for the subsistence of the people. Research contributes significantly to the three aspects of food security – availability, access and affordability,’ he said in a statement.
Agricultural research has also played an important role in changing Indian agriculture from being a food importer to exporter, according to the Union Minister. ‘Integrated research efforts can develop a package of techniques and methodologies for improving soil productivity, water management for storage, expansion and efficiency. Technological progress is the key to solving the challenges facing mankind,’ he said.
‘Today, with an annual production of 308 million tonnes of food grains, India is not only in the realm of food security but is also catering to needs of other countries too. India has experienced a revolution in the field of agricultural produce due to the efficient research of scientists. Oilseeds Technology Mission doubled the production of oilseeds in 10 years. India has made great progress in pulses production in recent times due to the introduction of hybrid varieties in the seed system. The call of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in this regard has had a special effect,’ the Minister added.
Moreover, the Agriculture Minister explained that India is likely to surpass 150 crores when it comes to population in 2030-31, when food grain consumption is expected to reach 350 million tonnes. Similarly, the demand for edible oils, milk and milk products, meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, and sugar will rise significantly. ‘In comparison, natural resources are limited and there is also the challenge of climate change. The strategy to meet the increased demand revolves around increasing productivity and increasing the income of farmers. Agriculture is contributing to the three biggest challenges of the 21st century – achieving food security, adapting to climate change and mitigating climate change, says Tomar in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
There is a rapid depletion of important resources like water, energy, and land. The agricultural industry needs to integrate sustainability aspects while increasing production and income, adapting to climate change by balancing feed, livestock, fisheries, and agroforestry systems, improving resource efficiency, protecting the environment, and maintaining ecosystem services. As a way to make the country self-sufficient, Tomar said that efforts will be made to develop genomics, digital agriculture, climate-smart technologies, efficient water use equipment, high yielding and bio-friendly varieties, systematic production, quality and safety standards.
‘There is a need to rethink and adapt agricultural research and development, along with increasing investment in scientific research, to achieve adequate and nutritious food along with environmental sustainability. Working in this direction, we have developed and released 17 varieties of different crops which are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses,’ he said. ‘Similarly, ICAR is developing bio-fortified varieties to meet the nutritional requirement of the people. National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture has been launched which promotes integrated farming systems approach in agriculture. India will continue its efforts to cooperate in the exchange of best practices, in research and development and programmatic interventions to increase productivity through the promotion of trade and development of agricultural value chains, sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of the people,’ the Minister added.
In addition to the Agriculture Minister, the Indian delegation also included Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Joint Secretary Alaknanda Dayal, Dr. B Rajender and senior Indian Embassy officials.