Meeting of ICAR Regional Committee -II held

OV Digital Desk

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India conducted the XXVI Meeting of ICAR Regional Committee -II comprising the States of West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands today at ICAR-National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack.

Addressing the inaugural session in virtual mode, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Kailash Choudhary said, there is a need to intensify our research and development activities and ensure that it reaches out to our farmers at the ground level. “In order to increase the farmers’ income, we need to decrease their loan burden, provide developed seeds, and create market linkage and storage facilities. States need to work proactively at the field level, the Centre is always there to provide assistance,” he said.

Stressing the importance of Natural Farming, the Minister said that there is a need to shift from chemicals to fertiliser-based farming.  “Technology needs to be extended to our farmers. Only research can’t do it alone, the end product of the research needs to reach the farmer,” he added.

The minister said that we need to be Aatmanirbhar in Krishi, and then only India will become Aatmanirbhar. He wished the participants and said that the outcome of the meeting will definitely go a long way in helping our agriculture sector.

He also emphasized that such a type of review is essential not only to examine the progress but to pinpoint the problems and chalk out the possible solutions. States like Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are becoming highly affected by adverse climatic conditions. Therefore, new climate-smart technologies for farmers should be developed. He claimed that until agricultural activities are taken as a commercial venture, one can’t reap full potential benefits and get remunerative returns.

Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE)&Director General (DG), ICAR, Dr Himanshu Pathak stated the objectives of the programme and emphasized that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s exports of Agricultural and Processed Food products increased by 13% as compared to the previous year. However, the share in world export of food products is only about 3% due to low level of processing and lower value addition. Also, low level of processing is reflected in the composition of India’s food export basket which essentially consists of primary products like rice, flour, sugar, meat, fish, etc. He also expressed his concern about the low productivity of this region due to various reasons like poor soil quality, low use of fertilizer, insect-pest infestation and high dependence on monsoon rainfall.

Dr RK Singh, ADG (CC&FFC), ICAR welcomed all the dignitaries and Dr B.C. Patra, Director of ICAR-NRRI, Cuttack and Member Secretary, RCM-II offered the vote of thanks in the inaugural programme. After the inaugural session was over, State-wise problems and research needs/development issues were discussed during the technical session. Action Taken Report (ATR) with respect to the issues finalized during earlier meetings were deliberated and discussion made to prepare a roadmap for the development of agriculture including animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries, natural resource management and human resource development in the region. This meeting will help to establish the link between ICAR and state governments for identifying state-specific problems related to agricultural and allied aspects and offering suitable solutions through achievements and accomplishments of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) of the concerned states within a specific timeline.

The ICAR has set up eight Regional Committees on the basis of agro-climatic regions. The purpose of the Regional Committee is to provide a forum for the researchers and the State Government functionaries to examine the major gaps in the current research and training efforts in agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries; to identify priorities, and to decide the agenda of research and extension education in different agro-ecological regions of the country for the coming two years. A research agenda of national relevance in the areas of agricultural technology assessment, refinement and transfer is set up for discussion in the regular meetings of the Regional Committee, which is held once in two years.