Water, land and tech should be judiciously used: Tariq Anwar
Hyderabad: Water, land and modern technology should be used judiciously to maintain sustainable agriculture and achieve food security for the country`s constantly growing population in years to come, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar said here Tuesday.
Noting that the country`s population is estimated to be around 1.53 billion by 2030, exceeding even that of China, he said ensuring food security in the face of rapid growth in population is a challenge.
Anwar was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day World Agriculture Forum Congress 2013 and Agri Tech Trade Fair here.
Highlighting the scarce nature of water as a resource, he said "watershed management, rain-water harvesting and ground water recharge should be promoted for judicious use of existing resource and its conservation."
Stating that climate change could adversely impact agriculture yield in the country in the coming years, he said steps need to be taken to mitigate it.
"Biotechnology would help in promoting productivity but the technology is a contentious one and hence, there is need for a healthy debate on the issue," he said.
A robust regulatory mechanism for evaluation of genetically modified crops should be in place to address all the issues raised over their use, he said.
The Minister urged the scientific community to make efforts to give greater clarity to the public on biotechnology and its use.
The private companies in agriculture sector should be judicious in the pricing of their products as their long term interest lay in the purchasing power of the farmers, Anwar said.
Speaking on the occasion, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed concern over the trend of youth not inclined to take up cultivation as a profession.
Noting that the rising costs of cultivation and low returns discouraged the farmers, he said efforts should be made to ensure that the agriculturists get proper remuneration for their produce.
The problems related to damage of crops in times of natural calamities besides market access, godown space, cold storage and loans should be addressed expeditiously to make farming a rewarding profession for the farmers, he said.
In his opening remarks, Kenneth M Baker, Chairman of World Agriculture Forum, said the event was focusing on small and marginal farmers and the challenges before them.
James Bolger, Chairman of the World Agricultural Forum Advisory Board, favoured efficient use of resources like land, water and technology for the benefit of farmers.
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