Pantnagar (Uttarakhand): President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday stressed the need to preserve natural resources and advocated new approaches to manage the risks of climate change and loss of bio-diversity.
"Injudicious exploitation of natural resources has already put the earth system at risk by leading to climate change and bio-diversity loss. We need new approaches to manage these risks. The climate is changing and is bound to change, but should it change so fast," he asked while addressing the convocation of G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology here.
About 120 million hectares of land in the country was in various stages of degradation, he said, adding that imbalanced application of fertilisers, mostly nitrogenous, had impacted crop productivity and soil health.
"Adoption of more sustainable land use systems and soil management practices has become essential. Agriculture must return to its roots by rediscovering the importance of healthy soil, drawing on natural sources of plant nutrition and using fertilisers judiciously and effectively. It also calls for greater investment in technology development and its on-farm adoption, deepening of markets and remunerative prices to farmers," he said.
The president pointed out that agriculture, being the mainstay of Indian economy, had always been accorded top priority in policy formation as the country needed to feed its growing population.
"Agriculture has always received top priority in our policy formulation because early in our planning process, we recognised that we ourselves have to feed our growing population that today stands at 1.28 billion," Mukherjee said.
"We surmounted the food security challenge then. But what about now, when we are confronted with decreasing land availability for agriculture, coupled with a rising population? When deterioration in soil health and water quality is reducing agriculture productivity," he said.