Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is the largest and most comprehensive research institute in the world. The progress made by the institute so far is commendable. Be it achieving production targets, increasing productivity or meeting the challenge of producing climate-resilient crops, our agricultural scientists have played a vital role in every field. Consolidating upon the traditional farming since ancient times, along with the hard work of farmers, the research of scientists has proved to be a milestone in the progress witnessed in the agriculture sector. So far this journey has been satisfactory, but it is our aim to overcome the challenges during the Amrit Kaal to bring the country in the comity of developed nation by the year 2047.
Union Minister Shri Tomar said this while addressing the 94th Annual General Meeting of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Society. He said that India’s supremacy in the Agriculture sector is increasing all over the world, along with this the expectations from us are also rising. The target is to build a New India by 2047. New India needs new science, research, new skills and innovation because tomorrow belongs to New India. For this, the Government of India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, is working on the basis of new principles. ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas’ is our main mantra, without leaving anyone behind, keep marching towards the goal. Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan – ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee added ‘Vigyan’ to this slogan and our current Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has also added ‘Anusandhan’ to it. It has become a mantra for us – ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan’.
Shri Tomar said that the overall and balanced development of the country is being taken forward. When it comes to overall development, the Agriculture sector is like the backbone of the country. It is our responsibility to develop it. Various challenges like Climate Change are before us today. We are also facing the challenge of damage caused to the standing crops of the farmers due to natural disasters. In New India, we have to reach out to all the farmers with new technology and research. The income of the farmers has to be raised, prosperity has to be brought to their homes and the villages and the Agriculture sector has to be made prosperous, all of which has to be accomplished jointly.
The Union Agriculture Minister said that Rs. 4 lakh crore worth of agricultural exports has been achieved, which is the highest ever. In the coming times, our products of Natural and Organic Farming are going to become more popular in the world. There is a need to work with the belief that our exports will increase further in the future. Along with this, our concern has to be to ensure the quality of the production meets the global benchmark. The government’s emphasis is on Natural Farming. Prime Minister Shri Modi urges that we should promote Natural Farming i.e. cow based farming. Let the focus be on ‘waste to wealth’. We should strive to improve the quality and hygiene of our products. The Agriculture Minister said that the year 2023 has been declared as the International Year of Millets (Shree Anna). The Prime Minister is going to formally launch the programme on 18th March. The International Year of Millets is not just an event but a big project to increase the production, productivity and market of Shree Anna. The consumption and popularity of Shree Anna is also increasing through the programs being organized across the country. With the popularity of Shree Anna gaining across the world, when the consumption will increase, then the responsibility of supplying it will also rest with India since we are the largest producer of Shree Anna. Scientists need to pay attention to this aspect too.
In his address, the Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Parshottam Rupala praised the commendable effort put forth by ICAR in developing indigenous vaccine Lumpi-ProVac for defence against the Lumpy Skin Disease afflicting a large cattle population in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Member, NITI Aayog Shri Ramesh Chand expressed satisfaction that our foodgrains production growth rate is faster than the country’s population growth rate and that the momentum should accelerate. He called upon the ICAR to focus its efforts on the 12 crops witnessing declining production over the years, including Cotton that supports the Textiles Industry also, besides Soyabean, Tur & Urad pulses and Oilseeds particularly Safflower. Pointing out that the consumption of Millets per person has declined from 24% to 6% over the years, Dr. Ramesh Chand said we must ensure Millets remains the staple diet of the poor since it is rich in iron and prevents anemia.
Presenting a detailed report on the achievements of ICAR during the FY 2022-23, Director General of ICAR and Secretary, DARE Dr. Himanshu Pathak said the ICAR released 323 varieties of field crops, including 266 climate resistant variants. A number of vaccines were developed by the ICAR Institutes including the H9N2 Influenza Vaccine for Chickens and vaccine for prevention of SARS-CoV2 infection in animals, he said.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Kailash Choudhary (through video conference), Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Shri Surya Pratap Shahi, Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Shri Abdul Sattar, Himachal Pradesh Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Shri Chander Kumar, Secretary, ICAR Shri Sanjay Garg and other members and senior officers were present. On this occasion, Union Minister Shri Tomar also released some publications. During the AGM, some members also presented their suggestions.