Recently the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) celebrated its 85th Foundation Day. A convocation ceremony was arranged in this regard in the capital city which was attended by the who’s who of the agricultural researchers and scientists along with the administrative policy makers. The meeting was presided over and formally addressed by the Pranab Mukherjee, the president of India.
On the pious occasion, the president lauded the nation’s agricultural research system along with the role of ICAR which has helped in realizing and implementing those ideas. He admitted that both are equally worthy of praise for the services that they have rendered for the development of the nation as well its people.
The president said, “ICAR was set up for the purpose of planning, promoting and implementing progressive research in the fields of agriculture, agro-forestry, fisheries, animal husbandry, home science and allied sciences. Today ICAR can boast of state-of-the-art infrastructure besides having four deemed universities, 47 central institutes, 17 national research institutes as well as 25 project directorates to fulfil its vision and carry out its objectives.
ICAR can be credited with successfully completing the arduous job of creating the soil fertility maps of 500 districts of the country spread across 21 states. Through intensive research, ICAR has efficiently developed 300 improved varieties of field and cash crops besides 186 varieties of horticultural crops.
Moreover, it has also created decision support system for enhanced and efficient nutrient management besides developing watershed development models for many geographic regions. The Indo-Gangetic Basin too has benefitted from their resource conservation technology. The nation’s agriculture has indeed benefitted from their improvised technology and human resources which has dynamically increased the nation’s yield and productivity.
“After independence, India’s agriculture system was underdeveloped. The agricultural produce of the nation was not enough to feed its population. In 1943, India faced its worst food disaster in the form of the great BENGAL Famine that claimed millions of lives. In those days, India used to import millions of tonnes of food grains just to support its population. Slowly times changed during Jawahar Lal Nehru’s reign as the agriculture of the country slowly developed. Later it gave rise to the fabled Green Revolution,” said the president.
“In recent times, India’s agriculture has transformed dynamically as the nation now produces more than 200 million tonnes of food grains each year in spite of two major droughts in the last decade,” added Mukherjee.
“The growth of the agricultural sector in the 11th Five-year Plan was 3.6% while we will strive to reach the 4% mark in the 12th Five-year Plan. The agricultural growth needs to match the 8% growth of the nation to reduce poverty, enhance food security, increase employment and boost the rural economy,” further added the president.
He expressed concern about the quantity of grains that are wasted each year just due to the lack of proper storage facilities. According to him it is really shameful for the nation to lose millions of tonnes of grains since so many mouths in the nation still go to sleep unfed. The need of the hour is proper storage and diligence from the officials.