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Viable advance technologies needed to counter land degradation'

Viable advanced technologies must be developed to counter negative effects of declining landholdings, increasing number of marginal farmers and land degradation, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, R. Chidambaram said here Thursday.

IANS| Updated: Sep 03, 2015, 22:32 PM IST

New Delhi: Viable advanced technologies must be developed to counter negative effects of declining landholdings, increasing number of marginal farmers and land degradation, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, R. Chidambaram said here Thursday.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 4th Bio-Nano Agri Summit, organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), he said technologies should also be developed to prevent food wastage, countering pest attacks on crops, and maintaining soil health.

"Nanoscience-based viable advanced technologies that are both economic and scientific must be developed to counter negative effects of declining landholdings, increasing number of marginal farmers and land degradation," he said.

"Technology should also be used to develop new crop varieties, prevent wastage, food preservation, food processing, countering pest attacks on crops, efficient use of water and for maintaining soil health," said Chidambaram, adding that while ensuring food and nutritional security, we have to provide mechanisms for ensuring increased farmer incomes.

Highlighting that agriculture contributed less than 20 per cent of India's GDP (gross domestic product), and accounts for over 10 percent of India's exports, he stressed on the need for more widespread techniques to improve irrigation facilities in India.

"Farmers in India consume about 80 percent of state water supply... we need to make a saving there," he said.

Criticising those averse to genetically modified (GM) crops, Chidambaram said: "There should be no irrational resistance to GM crops once careful research has been done, field trials have been completed and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) approval has been obtained."